From MHI ,NK Pro & NK News ;
North Korea fires two “short-range ballistic missiles,” South Korea says – by Jeongmin Kim, Oliver Hotham
Test is first of its kind by the DPRK this year
North Korea on Monday test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea’s military said, the first such launch by the country this year.
The projectiles were fired from Wonsan on the country’s east coast around 12:37 local time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported, and headed towards the Sea of Japan, known in Korea as the East Sea. “Our military is maintaining the readiness posture while tracking and monitoring the relevant movement in preparation for additional launch,” the statement added.
Monday’s test comes just days after North Korea conducted what it described as a “joint strike” military drill on its east coast — also its first such exercise in 2020.
South Korea’s military assessed that Monday’s test marked a continuation of that exercise, and that the projectiles in question traveled 240 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 35 kilometers. “Additional specifications are being analyzed by ROK-U.S. intelligence authorities,” the JCS said, adding that “North Korea’s such actions do not help to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, and it is urged repeatedly to stop immediately.”
A later briefing by an unnamed JCS official to local press described the test as having been of “short-range ballistic missiles.”
Monday marks North Korea’s first missile test since November 28, when the country was reported to have conducted a “test-fire of super-large multiple rocket launchers [MRLs].”
It also marks the first from Wonsan since the launch of the “new-type” Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on October 3.
“It sounds like they are starting off with something small and conventional in nature,” Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said, adding that South Korea’s assessment that the test represented a continuation of the weekend’s exercise “makes sense.”
“North Korea has presented missiles that fit this profile as ‘tactical’ and implicitly conventional in nature,” he said.
The test follows months of diplomatic inaction between the U.S. and North Korea, with talks effectively on ice since a meeting in Stockholm fell apart without a deal in October last year.
December passed in relative calm, however, despite North Korean threats of a “Christmas gift” for the U.S. earlier that month.
A ruling party plenum that month also saw DPRK leader Kim Jong Un promise the country would “steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons” in the coming year, though he stopped short of ending an April 2018 self-declared moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing.
Kim Jong Un’s guidance of party meeting and military drill: key takeaways – by Rachel Minyoung Lee
The North Korean leader’s guidance of a CC meeting and a drill shows domestic discipline remains the top priority
North Korean state media on February 29 reported on Kim’s “operation and execution” of an expanded meeting of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee (CC) Political Bureau (PB) on an unknown date. This report was followed by a readout of Kim’s guidance of a military drill on February 28.
Kim likely presided over the PB expanded meeting on February 27 rather than on the same day as guiding the military exercise, given the travel time required.
The PB expanded meeting dealt with three agenda items: wrongdoing among party cadres, including “irregularities and corruption”; the prevention of a coronavirus
On Hanoi summit anniversary, Kim Jong Un oversees “joint strike” military drill – by Jacob Fromer
North Korean army turned small islet into “sea of flames,” state media says
Updated 23:30 KST to include details from KCTV broadcast and location of the joint strike drill.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed a “joint strike” military drill on Friday, the one-year anniversary of his ill-fated Hanoi summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reported early Saturday morning.The military drill — conducted to “judge the North Korean”.
Kim Jong Un sacks top officials for “corruption” in meeting on coronavirus – by Colin Zwirko
North Korean leader in Politburo meeting pointed to “recent incident” also involving a Party cadre training base
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un led an enlarged Political Bureau meeting primarily on the country’s coronavirus prevention efforts, where he dismissed two top officials for what appear to be related “corrupt” acts, the Party daily Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday. At the meeting held on an unspecified recent date, Kim was said to have discussed “acts corrupt” on coronavirus meeting.
North Korean state media pushes anti-corruption line following Politburo meeting – by Colin Zwirko
Official reactions to corrupt “betrayal,” self-criticisms highlighted on Party daily front page
The front page of North Korea’s party-run daily Rodong Sinmun emphasized a recent scandal as a key ideological target for self-reflection on Monday, following the announcement of a dismissal of top officials for corruption on Saturday.That announcement came in coverage of a recent Politburo meeting led by Kim Jong Un, which was said to have covered the primary topics of the corruption.
3920 people under quarantine in North Korea’s South Phyongan, Kangwon provinces – by Jeongmin Kim
Amid coronavirus concerns, state media reports nearly 7000 now being held for “medical monitoring” in DPRK
North Korea is currently holding around 3920 people under quarantine in South Phyongan Province and Kangwon Province, the country’s ruling party daily reported on Sunday, as the DPRK steps-up efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within its territory.
The DPRK is “strengthening medical observation,” the Rodong Sinmun reported, “finding visitors who came back from China.
Cambodia seizes oil tanker tied to North Korea sanctions evasion – by Oliver Hotham
“Courageous” alleged to have been involved in ship-to-ship transfers
Cambodian authorities over the weekend took an oil tanker with ties to illicit North Korean ship-to-ship transfers into custody, a statement from the country’s General Commissariat of Police said Sunday.The ship, named in the statement as the Courageous (IMO number 8617524), carried a crew of 16, and is currently being detained pending further investigation by local legal authorities.
North Korea confirms Vladivostok flight, “ends” foreigner quarantine measures – by Chad O’Carroll
Russian aviation authorities still need to approve the flight, NK News understands
Following a week of uncertainty, NK News now understands that North Korean authorities have confirmed that a single Air Koryo flight will be allowed to go to Vladivostok on Friday, while also officially ending the most restrictive of quarantine measures for expatriate residents in Pyongyang. Approximately 60 people are expected to leave on Friday’s flight – if and when Russian aviation authorities still need to approve the flight.
Michael Hay, who managed the longest-running law firm in Pyongyang, dies at 58 – by Chad O’Carroll
Lawyer was known for winning disputes in DPRK, despite its opaque legal system
Michael Hay, who founded and managed the longest-running foreign-backed law firm to be based in North Korea, died last Wednesday in South Korea, aged 58.His death was confirmed by friends and former colleagues to NK News.
Hay – also a friend of this author – was well known among businesses and NGOs as one of the few lawyers to have ever successfully won commercial disputes in North Korea’s opaque legal system. A dual British-French national and member of the New York bar, he founded Hay, Kalb & Associates in Pyongyang in 2004 after working for over a decade in the South Korean legal system.
His firm operated from the Pyongyang Hotel with a team comprising North Korean partners until 2016, when it suspended service amid growing international sanctions pressure and decreased foreign appetite to explore the DPRK market. HK&A, which specialized in regulatory compliance, foreign investment, and dispute resolution, had by the time of its closure accrued thousands of hours experience negotiating between DPRK entities and foreign clients.
Hay first visited North Korea in 1998, he told NK Pro in a prior interview, as part of a delegation of the European Chamber of Commerce to test the waters as the country emerged from its notorious famine and near-economic collapse.Having already worked with Chinese companies that did business in the DPRK, the trip was a chance to see the DPRK first-hand.
But while few others would have been as generous towards the country as he, Hay said the trip confirmed his belief that the DPRK held opportunities for those willing to look hard enough.“That consolidated my desire to do more with them,” Hay explained at the time. “And I found it interesting that they were quite direct in their discussions.”
With the concept forming in his mind, he pitched the idea of setting up a law firm to contacts in-country. And though he originally planned to bring in a major international partner, the concept quickly morphed into setting up his own firm, with the company fully operational by 2005.
While Hay’s knowledge of the North Korean regulatory system far surpassed most other Westerners working there, he said he always worked closely with locals to get anything done.“My aim was to get in, try to get in close, not breach any rules of the DPRK, respect their internal working system, but work with the lawyers,” he told NK Pro in 2016.
“I wanted to have the ability to speak to foreign investors, encourage them if that was their desire or later desire, to take a look of North Korea with the comfort that they were talking to somebody who was close to the legislation.”
After departing the country in 2016, Hay took a short break from working actively on the North Korea portfolio. But as summit diplomacy in 2018 replaced the high tensions of just a year before, commercial South Korean interest in North Korea quickly piqued.It was in the fall of that year when he would return to the peninsula, in order to take up a post offering North Korea expertise to clients in the ROK through the Seoul-based firm, HMP Law.
Shortly after commencing that job, he took part in another interview with this website, this time in audio format on the NK News podcast, with host Jacco Zwetsloot. Hay was as always positive about the future of North Korea, arguing Pyongyang took law very seriously when it came to foreign businesses operating in-country.
How North Korean laborers rediscovered capitalism in the 1990s – by Andrei Lankov
Following the collapse of the public distribution system, North Koreans began to sell their labor in order to survive
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that North Korea has undergone rapid marketization. And the market for goods isn’t the only change: as labor is increasingly bought and sold, its price is determined by the supply and demand equilibrium.The North Korea of 1958-1961 liked to describe itself as the ‘country of exemplary socialism.’ They were of course referring to the Leninist-Stalinist style.
“The 3.1 People’s Uprising”: how North Korea sees the March First Movement – by James Fretwell
DPRK historians assert Kim Il Sung’s anti-Japanese guerilla exploits won independence from Japanese colonial rule
This Sunday marks the 101st anniversary of the March First Movement.In early 1919, Koreans rose up in the first nationwide political protest against Japanese rule (Korea had become a protectorate of Japan in 1905 and was then annexed in 1910).Inspired in part by the principles of national self-determination expressed in U.S. President .