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N. Korea’s new leader expected to announce economic reforms in shift from military supremacy

The Chaeha Market in Sinuiju is packed with vendors and customers in this screenshot from a video obtained by Chosun Ilbo from a N. Korean source.

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, SEOUL — North Korea has formed a task force to overhaul the reclusive country’s rigid economic management under new ruler Kim Jong-Un’s reform initiatives, South Korea’s intelligence officials said. The task force is reviewing a set of economic measures drafted on June 28 that focus on improving the [...]

August 9th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories,World Links | Read More »

Reports: Wiretap led to Ri’s ouster in N. Korea; firefight killed 20

Choe Ryong-Hae, second from right, director of the KPA General Political Department is briefed about ongoing construction of the Pyongyang Folk Park.

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, SEOUL — Ri Yong-Ho, the most ardent supporter of late North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Il’s “military-first” policy, was purged because he had complained about youthful new ruler Kim Jong-Un’s push for policy changes, sources and officials in Seoul say. But Ri’s dismissal could encourage his supporters and hardline [...]

August 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

China constructing extensive transportation network along N. Korea border

Cargo trucks cross a rail bridge over the Yalu River into North Korea from China’s border city of Dandong on Dec. 22, 2011.  /Yonhap News

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, China is building a massive highway and rail network along the border with North Korea in an apparent bid to tap into its neighbor’s natural resources and to secure easy access for troops in case of an emergency in the destitute nation. China will spend more than $10 [...]

July 26th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

Beijing signals support for ‘Marshal’ Kim and his supposedly reformist policies

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with former chief of general staff of the Korean People's Army Ri Yong-Ho at a military parade in Pyongyang.  /Kyodo/Reuters

Special to By Willy Lam, While much of the world is scrambling to figure out the meaning of the latest power shifts in Pyongyang, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership has signaled early — and staunch — support for Kim Jong-Un and his supposedly pro-reform policies. Kim, who is believed to be in [...]

July 25th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

Mickey Mouse and miniskirts: N. Korea’s new young leader instructs nation in ‘global trends’

Mickey and Minnie Mouse have a chat as North Korea's Moranbong band performs in Pyongyang.  /AP/KCNA via Korea News Service

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, North Korea’s youthful new ruler Kim Jong-Un has publicly called for the reclusive state to catch up with “global trends” in upgrading the country’s industries — a sign that the Swiss-educated leader may pursue certain reforms. Kim used the term “global trends” during recent public activities, according to [...]

July 19th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories,World Links | Read More »

N. Korean documentary on Kim Jong-Un’s mother omits her revolutionary sin: She was born in Japan

An image of Ko Young-Hui is shown in a new North Korean documentary about Kim Jong-Un's late mother.

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, A new propaganda film about the mother of North Korea’s youthful new ruler highlights Pyongyang’s dilemma over how to promote legitimacy of the family’s dynastic rule. The documentary film about Ko Yong-Hi was originally to be shown to the public on what would have been her 60th birthday [...]

July 12th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

N. Korean defectors report starvation after harvests ‘taken forcibly by the ruling class’

Farmers till the land in the North Korean hillside across from the Chinese border town of Hekou.

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, A growing number of North Koreans are starving to death, even in the country’s grain belt on the southwest coast, despite increased crop yields because soldiers and state officials are extorting the grain. A defector who fled the North last summer said members of the ruling class would [...]

June 28th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

‘Island of peace’ haunted by memories of war

The Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington looms large, if rarely in view.  /Fremantle Por

Special to By Donald Kirk, JEJU – Schoolchildren here sing a mournful song about a gigantic rock about 90 miles southwest of the island where the souls of fishermen lost at sea find their final repose. The rock cannot really be called an outcropping since it’s actually submerged several meters, but South Korea [...]

June 21st, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

Report: U.S. mum on missile launchers China sent to N. Korea

A North Korean vehicle carrying a missile is seen by during a military parade in Pyongyang, April 15.  / AP Japanese officials say China has violated a U.N. embargo by supplying North Korea with vehicles capable of transporting and launching ballistic missiles. Local media Wednesday quoted government sources as saying that a Chinese company sent four giant, 16-wheel missile launch vehicles to North Korea last August. The Asahi Shimbun, which first reported the story, [...]

June 17th, 2012 | Posted in China,Daily Brief,North Korea | Read More »

N. Korea selling off minerals to China in frantic bid for hard currency

Dump trucks carrying iron ore cross a bridge that connects North Korea with China.  /Steven Shaver/Bloomberg

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, North Korea’s exports surged more than 84 percent last year to $2.79 billion on the back of bigger shipments of natural resources to China as Pyongyang seeks hard currency to finance its huge political gala events held earlier this year. South Korea’s trade agency says North Korean exports [...]

June 14th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea | Read More »

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