PN's Voice 86

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 86, 07-07-2016
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PN's Voice No. 86   07. 07. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

US Sanctions NK’s Kim Jong-un for the First Time

The US has sanctioned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the first time, accusing him of human rights abuses. A statement from the US Treasury named Kim as directly responsible for violations in his country. "Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labour, and torture," the Treasury statement said. Ten other top North Korean officials have also been blacklisted. There has been no response yet from the North Korean government. The sanctions were announced to coincide with a State Department report documenting abuses in North Korea.

The measures freeze any property the individuals have in the US and prevent US citizens doing business with them. North Korea is already under an extensive sanctions regime for its nuclear activities but analysts see the latest move as an escalation of US efforts to isolate the nation. It estimates that between 80,000 and 120,000 prisoners are being held in North Korean prison camps where torture, sexual assault and executions are routine.

The US has imposed sanctions against other heads of state before, including Syria's Bashar al-Assad and former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Source : BBC News, The Guardian


Putin Sends Letter to Kim Jong-un in Hopes of Cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and expressed hope for more cooperation between the two countries. According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday, Putin sent the letter on Tuesday to congratulate Kim for becoming the head of the newly-created State Affairs Commission.

Putin also said that he expects Kim’s work with the new state-ruling body will contribute to expanding dialogue and cooperation between the two sides, as well as strengthening the peace, security and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea's 13th Supreme People’s Assembly held its fourth session on June 29th and appointed Kim as the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which replaced the National Defense Commission as the country’s top decision-making body.

Putin’s approach may well be warmly welcomed by the North as it finds itself increasingly isolated by international sanctions and a lack of allies.
Source : KBS News


NK Sends Security Agents to China to Monitor its Overseas Workers

North Korea has sent about 300 security agents to China in a bid to strengthen monitoring on the North's overseas workers following a high-profile defection by over a dozen North Korean restaurant staffers, according to North Korean defector Kim Yong-hwa, head of the NK Refugees Human Rights Associations of Korea.

In late June, the North dispatched security agents to the neighboring country in an effort to step up supervision on North Korean workers. "The agents were dispatched to North Korea-run restaurants, Chinese companies and trade missions where North Koreans are working," Kim told Yonhap News Agency, citing a source familiar with the situation.

The move came as 13 North Koreans working at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in the Chinese eastern port city of Ningbo defected to South Korea en masse in April. In June, three more North Korean restaurant staff working in China escaped to Seoul. Overseas restaurants operated by North Korea have served as one of the main sources of hard currency for North Korea. The North is suspected of using the money to bankroll its nuclear and missile programs.

North Koreans in overseas restaurants are among the 50,000 workers sent abroad by the regime to earn much-needed hard currency to help it tackle economic hardship amid the U.N. sanctions on the North. North Korea handpicks workers who are loyal to the regime and sends them overseas to work at restaurants.
Source : The Korea Herald 


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