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Moon urges South Koreans to support dialogue with North, PyeongChang cooperation

Moon urges South Koreans to support dialogue with North, PyeongChang cooperation, By Dagyum Ji 
Amid growing domestic opposition, President warns atmosphere for talks may not last.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged the South Korean public to support his government’s North Korea policy, warning that the “atmosphere of dialogue” may dissipate after the upcoming Winter Olympics. Speaking at a weekly meeting with his chief secretaries and aides, Moon said he hoped the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics would encourage Seoul event.

PyongSu drug maker took “drastic measures” to continue DPRK operations: MD

PyongSu drug maker took “drastic measures” to continue DPRK operations: MD, By Chad O’Carroll 
Remy Lardinois says local partner will hold NDCP shares until sanctions lifted or exemption obtained.

The World Health Organization-certified PyongSu Pharma joint venture (J/V) took “drastic measures” to keep operating in North Korea in order to avoid falling afoul of recent United Nations sanctions, Managing Director Remy Lardinois has told MHI-NK News. A creative but risky solution now means that PyongSu Pharma will reportedly be able to continue operations in North Korea.

Hasil gambar untuk Hyon Song-wol visit to South Korea / GIFNorth Korea asked Seoul to limit local media questioning of Hyon Song Wol: MOU

North Korea asked Seoul to limit local media questioning of Hyon Song Wol: MOU, By Dagyum Ji
South Korean reporters demand gov’t apologize for NIS interference in coverage.

North Korea asked the South to limit the exposure to the press a visiting cultural delegation would face, Seoul’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) said on Monday. “It can be understood in the context that North Korea wants to check facilities quietly and calmly, rather than the [South Korean] government making the decision,” unification ministry spokesperson.

In pictures: inside North Korea’s Masikryong ski resort, By Chad O’Carroll.

Photos show what visiting South Korean officials can soon expect to see.

North Korea’s Masikryong ski resort, which opened in 2014 following a rapid construction period of less than a year, is set to welcome a group of visiting South Koreans in just a matter of days.

A 12 member delegation from the South will visit the resort for three days and two nights from January 23 to inspect the facilities ahead of sending South Korean skiers there for joint training sessions ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Their trip is part of a broader effort between the two Koreas to warm ties ahead of the Winter Olympics, games which will see the two countries even join forces to play a joint women’s ice hockey team.

So what will the South Korean delegation expect to see?

While South Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo reported last week that the resort includes “hopelessly outdated” equipment, January-dated photos exclusively obtained by NK News show that things aren’t likely to be anywhere near as bad as the conservative-leaning newspaper claims.

Newly manufactured Canadian snowmobiles, Swedish snow-blowers, Swiss gondolas and Italian and German snow cats have all been spotted at North Korea’s Masik Ski resort since it opened in January 2014, equipment that raised concerns that UN Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang from purchasing “luxury goods” may have been broken.

Odd Stensrud, manager at Hafjell-Kvitfjell, one of the biggest alpine resorts in Norway, told NK News in 2014 that from looking at initial pictures of the resort in news reports, he wouldn’t have guessed Masikryong was in North Korea if he didn’t know beforehand.

“The things you can see from the pictures in the news reports could have been anywhere, at a small or medium-sized ski resort anywhere in the world,” Stensrud said, noting that most of the visible equipment hews to international standards and comes from respected manufacturers.

Still, regardless of the quality of equipment, slopes or snow, some critics say South Korea’s visit to the resort could undermine international pressure on the DPRK’s human rights track record, because of its use of forced labor.

“It’s well known that forced labor is regularly used on both large and small infrastructure projects in North Korea, and this includes required labor by students, meaning that child labor is used as well”, said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters last week.

“There is no reason that the Masik ski resort would be any different from this established model”.


S. Korean delegation to visit DPRK ahead of joint cultural, sports event

S. Korean delegation to visit DPRK ahead of joint cultural, sports event, By Dagyum Ji
12-member group to inspect facilities at Mt Kumgang and Masikrong ski resort.

Seoul will next week dispatch an advance inspection team to North Korea for a joint cultural event and joint training of North and South Korean skiers, the Ministry of Unification (MOU) announced on Sunday. The South Korean government on Friday reportedly proposed that a 12-member delegation – to be led by the unification ministry’s Lee Joo-tae.

North Korean inspection team to visit South on Sunday

North Korean inspection team to visit South on Sunday, By Dagyum Ji

DPRK delegation led by Hyon Song Wol will make overnight trip as previously agreed.

The two Koreas re-agreed to a visit of a North Korean preliminary inspection team on Sunday to South Korea to discuss a DPRK art performance during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the Ministry of Unification (MOU) said in a late Saturday statement.

North Korea cancels Hyon Song Wol delegation, provides no explanation

North Korea cancels Hyon Song Wol delegation, provides no explanation, By Hamish Macdonald

Unclear if inspection visit will go ahead at later date.

A seven person delegation from North Korea scheduled to visit South Korea on Saturday has abruptly cancelled its plans the evening before its arrival, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) said late Friday evening. The delegation was to be led by Hyon Song Wol, a North Korean musician and former member of the country’s primary propaganda from North Korea.

North Korean and Russian universities sign cooperation agreementHasil gambar untuk Pyongyang University of Foreign Languages Building

North Korean and Russian universities sign cooperation agreement, By Hamish Macdonald

Agreement to facilitate conferences as well as teacher and student exchanges.

Representatives from Moscow’s State Linguistic University (MSLU) and Pyongyang’s University of Foreign Languages (PUFL) signed an academic cooperation agreement, the Russian embassy in North Korea announced on Friday. According to the embassy, the agreement was signed by MSLU acting President Irina Kraeva and her counterpart and President of PUFL Pak Jong Jin. “The agreement provides for facilitate conferences as well as teacher and student exchanges.

Top NK Stories from around the web:

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S. Koreans burn Kim’s photo as N. Korean band leader passes (LA Times) Dozens of conservative activists have attempted to burn a large photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the head of the North’s hugely popular girl band passed by them at a Seoul railway station. About 150 to 200 activists used a blowtorch to burn Kim’s photo and a North Korean flag.


Hasil gambar untuk North Korean delegation inspects concert venues in Seoul

North Korean delegation inspects concert venues in Seoul (Korea Times) A North Korean delegation led by the powerful female head of a national orchestra moved to Seoul on Monday morning from the eastern city of Gangneung, on the second day of their two-day visit to inspect candidate venues for its planned art performances during the time.


Hasil gambar untuk Moon urges support for N. Korea's participation in Olympics

Moon urges support for N. Korea’s participation in Olympics (Yonhap News) South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged public support for North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, calling it a rare chance to restart international talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions…


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Can South Korea afford to cut size of military? (Korea Herald) The Moon Jae-in administration’s plans to reduce the number of standing troops and period of mandatory service have sparked controversy over whether South Korea can afford to push the initiative amid North Korea’s growing military threat. In its 2018 policy briefing Friday, the Defense Ministry announced a five-year plan to scale back the mandatory military service period to 18 months from the current 21, along with a separate scheme to reduce the number of armed forces to about 500,000 from 620,000.

The government asserted that the measures were needed to make up for the lack of young conscripts and to modernize the military, but opponents are concerned that they would leave South Korea vulnerable to North Korea’s massive conventional forces.


 Hyon Song-wol, head of the North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra, arrive at the Gangneung Art Centre to check the venues for its proposed art performances at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics on 21 January 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea

North Korea girl band leader heads Olympic inspection team (BBC News) A North Korean delegation has arrived in South Korea for a landmark visit to inspect cultural venues for next month’s Winter Olympics. It is headed by Hyon Song-wol, leader of the popular Moranbong girl band and a big celebrity in the secretive state…

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