Unification Support in Rural Provinces

Barley fields by the sea in Dalchon village in Jeollanam-do, South Korea. Photo credit Korea.net, http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Travel/view?articleId=97027.

Jeollanam-do province covers the southwest tip of the Korean peninsula, a fragmented fringe of islands and irregular coastline. Like every other province in South Korea, it is largely covered with mountains, but the fertile lowlands around the coast make it the agricultural breadbasket of Korea: farmers comprise 25% of its households (compared to the 7% national average). Checkered fields of rice, barley, and wheat are everywhere, dotted with small villages at the intersections of roads.

The provinces in present-day Korea date from the Joseon dynasty, when all of Korea—North and South—was divided into eight provinces, each one named after two of its principal cities. This southwestern province had Jeonju and Naju; take the first syllable of each and it becomes Jeon-na, or Jeolla if you follow Korean pronunciation rules (Chinese characters are involved, which complicates things). By this system California might be called Los-San. The rule applies similarly to most of the other provinces in Korea.

But if the naming conventions are the same, everything else about it is different. It’s the most typically “backward” province in the small country, due mostly to its rural constituency and a historic repression begun under the longest dynasty and continued, though slightly abated, in modern politics. The region is notable for dissent and major uprisings against the national government, and has long lacked significant support for its development. Continue reading

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In the News – Export-Import Bank Urges N.Korea to Repay Debt

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In the News – Export-Import Bank Urges N.Korea to Repay Debt

The Export-Import Bank of Korea has once again urged North Korea to repay overdue loans.

“It is regrettable that no steps are being taken despite the fact that the principal on food loans continues to be in arrears,” the bank said on Monday. “We urged the speedy repayment of the overdue loans.”

South Korea loaned US$720 million to North Korea in the form of 2.4 million tons of rice and 200,000 tons of corn as part of food aid starting in 2000. June 7 was the repayment deadline for $5.83 million since the North agreed to start paying back the principal in 2012.

The bank notified North Korea of the repayment date in early May, one month before the deadline, but there was no response.

 

Original Article 

In the News – N. Korea steps up fight against drought

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In the News – N. Korea steps up fight against drought

SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) — North Korea is stepping up its fight against drought as a prolonged dry spell in the rice-planting season could deal a blow to food production and negatively impact the rule of the its new young leader.

The impoverished nation’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, state television and other media outlets are urging citizens to utilize every possible source of water to irrigate rice paddies, while also offering advice on how to help other crops overcome drought.

Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Friday that western regions of the North have received little rain for a month since April 26. If no rain falls by the end of the month, it will be the driest May for most western regions of the nation since 1962, the agency said.

KCNA reported Saturday that many people have been mobilized across the nation to minimize damage from the drought and that the cabinet and the agriculture ministry are putting together emergency measures.

The North’s premier, Choe Yong-rim, visited farms in the western Hwanghae Province on Saturday to check the situation, KCNA said. Choe was quoted as urging farmers to finish rice planting successfully, saying resolving food problems is one of the country’s most important issues.

New leader Kim Jong-un has stressed the importance of food production in the two personal statements he has made to the people this year. A bad harvest could deal a blow to his regime as he tries to consolidate his grip on power.

The North has relied on outside food aid to feed its 24-million population since natural disasters and mismanagement devastated its economy in the mid-1990s.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – U.N. committee sanctions three North Korea companies

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In the News – U.N. committee sanctions three North Korea companies

Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaks to the media at UN headquarters in New York, May 2, 2012.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS | Wed May 2, 2012 4:41pm EDT

(Reuters) – A U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on Wednesday added three North Korean state companies to a U.N. blacklist of firms banned from international trade in response to Pyongyang’s rocket launch last month.

The decision by the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee came after China consented to sanctions on the trio of companies. It falls far short of the roughly 40 firms the United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan had wanted to blacklist after Pyongyang’s launch.

The newly blacklisted firms are “very significant North Korean entities” involved in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said. Continue reading

In the News – IAEA Unlikely to Send Delegation to N.Korea

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In the News – IAEA Unlikely to Send Delegation to N.Korea

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says the world body stands ready to take further action against North Korea if that country continues to pursue missile launches or nuclear tests.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Susan Rice said the United Nations’ recent statement condemning North Korea’s failed missile launch attempt is a “strong and united determination” that further acts will not be tolerated.

“One would hope against past precedent that the leadership in North Korea will see the wisdom of not pursuing further provocations and will recognize that the history of their pursuit of these further provocations is North Korea’s increasing isolation and increasing pressure from the international community,” Rice said.

Her comments follow an announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency that it is unlikely to send a delegation to North Korea, after Pyongyang stated it is no longer bound by an agreement with the United States not to test missiles and nuclear devices. Continue reading

In the News – China Sends Rice to N.Korea

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In the News – China Sends Rice to N.Korea

China has reportedly sent hundreds of thousands of tons of rice to North Korea to help the Stalinist country maintain stability after leader Kim Jong-il’s death.

Do Hee-yoon of South Korean activist group Citizens’ Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees on Monday said thousands of Chinese cargo trucks carrying bags of rice entered the North between Jan. 9 and right before the Lunar New Year holidays. As proof, he showed pictures taken near the customs office in Tumen in the Chinese province of Jilin on Jan. 12 . Continue reading