Pyongyang displays model of SLBM at flower exhibition

 

North Korea has displayed a model of a submarine-launched ballistic missile at a flower exhibition to celebrate its key anniversary, Pyongyang’s state broadcast showed Tuesday.
Unlike earlier expectations, the North did not showcase the SLBM, which it claimed it successfully fired off in May at its military parade Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
But Pyongyang made the SLBM model public at the exhibition displaying flowers named after the North’s founder Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, the late father of the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, according to footage shown by the state-run Korean Central Television.
If confirmed, the North’s success of the missile launch could serve as a fresh threat to security on the Korean Peninsula as it is difficult to detect sources of ballistic missiles launched underwater.
North Korea forwent provocative acts, such as a long-range rocket launch, before the anniversary, which the North had threatened to do in recent weeks.
But analysts said that the North may go ahead with a rocket launch within this year as Pyongyang has claimed it has the right to fire off “a series of satellites” for peaceful space development, which experts view as a cover for ballistic missile tests. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald

Preparation for family reunions under way without hitch

 

South and North Korea have been preparing for the upcoming reunions of separated families without a hitch as repair work at facilities for the event will be completed as scheduled, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.
A group of South Korean technicians have been repairing facilities at Mount Kumgang on the North’s east coast since late September in preparation for the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War slated for Oct. 20-26. The repair work is set to be completed on Wednesday.
“An advance team for preparing for the reunions will visit North Korea on Thursday,” said a ministry official, asking not to be named.
He said that the team will also include an unspecified number of technicians who will deal with machines and communications.
“Preparation for the reunions is proceeding without a hitch,” the official said.
Facilities at Mount Kumgang have been used before as the venue for the family reunions, including the latest in February 2014.
But they have been not used often as Seoul suspended an inter-Korean tourism project at the mountain in 2008 following the deadly shooting of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean solider at the resort.
The upcoming reunions will be joined by less than 100 separated family members from each side.
The issue of the separated families is one of the most pressing humanitarian matters, as about half of the estimated 129,700 South Korean applicants for the reunions have died. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald

Park Geun-hye renews calls for peaceful unification with North Korea

President Park Geun-hye renewed her calls Tuesday for a peaceful unification between South and North Korea.
“Now, it’s time to move toward a peaceful unification … by ending the pain of the division,” Park said in a video message to a forum on North Korean affairs.
The Korean Peninsula was divided into the capitalistic South and communist North after its liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule. The two sides fought in the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
She also stressed South Korea’s efforts to build a peace park inside the 4-kilometer-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.
The buffer zone is a 259-kilometer strip of rugged no-man’s land stretching from coast to coast, strewn with land mines and barbed wire.
North Korea has publicly rejected the project. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald

North Korean famine stunts youth growth: report

Flag of North Korea.svg

 

Severe malnutrition stemming from North Korea’s devastating famine in the mid-1990s appears to have seriously undermined the growth of youths in the impoverished country, a report claimed Tuesday.
According to the report by the Korea Development Institute, young people in the country between the ages of 15 through 21 underwent the famine during their critical formative years and may have had their growth stunted.
The North was gripped by famine from 1994 to 2000, before the country’s situation improved with aid from abroad and better crop harvests, said the report based on data provided by the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund and testimonies from defectors.
It estimated 20.8 percent of North Korean children suffered from acute malnutrition in 1998, with 55.5 percent underweight and 63.9 percent classified as chronically malnourished.
“At the time, the health of children was actually worse than those who lived in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa,” the institute said. “Such poor conditions affected the growth of children and babies as it affected the nutritional levels of young people, which impacted their weight and height.”
Reflecting this, media reports have claimed that as of 2014, the minimum height requirement of new recruits in the North Korean military was lowered to 143 centimeters.
The report also said that with girls and young women between the ages of 15 through 21 expected to bear children in the next five to 15 years, there are rising health risks for newborns.
In the future, humanitarian aid going to North Korea needs to be concentrated on malnutrition and the health of young mothers, it suggested. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald