RFA in the News (October 2008)



Oct. 30 “New Zealand, instead of Japan, may supply fuel oil to N Korea”

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

Seoul, 30 October: New Zealand may replace Japan in supplying heavy fuel oil to North Korea as part of the six-party nuclear disarmament process, a news report said Thursday [30 October]. “We're in discussion with the six-party talk members on options to assist with the cost of heavy fuel oil to North Korea under their process. So we're in the discussion at this stage,” an unnamed spokesperson of the New Zealand Embassy in Washington said in an interview with the US-based Radio Free Asia.

KCNA (NORTH KOREA) British Broadcasting Corporation

Oct. 26 “North Korean delegate to UN: Radio Free Asia ‘wanton violation’ of UN Charter”

Today information activities are playing an important role in promoting peace, security and social unity and sustainable development of the world and the rapid development of information and communication technology, in particular, is exerting great influence on all fabrics of human life, said a DPRK delegate, clarifying the view of the delegation of the DPRK in a speech made at the meeting of the Fourth Committee of the 63rd UN General Assembly on Oct. 21.

He accused some specified countries of spreading their “view on value” and lifestyle among other countries after monopolizing information and communication media and floating misinformation to create social confusion. He went on to say: The US Radio Free Asia targeting against the DPRK and many other Asian countries, for example, is a wanton violation of the UN Charter and the principle of international law. If such phenomena are allowed to go on, the world will plunge into disorder and confusion.


Oct. 19 “Latest US grain shipment to NK departs”

The latest food aid from the United States to North Korea, comprised of 25,000 tons of corn and other grains, has made its departure from the U.S. state of Virginia, a U.S. radio station reported Saturday.

The Mary-Ann Hudson, a U.S. cargo vessel carrying 20,000 tons of corn and 5,000 tons of beans, left from Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday and is scheduled to arrive at North Korea's western port of Nampo on Nov. 18, Radio Free Asia reported, citing a spokesperson of World Vision.


Oct. 15 “Pyongyang Cancels Students' Sojourn”

Five foreign students who were supposed to arrive in Pyongyang yesterday have had their trip suddenly cancelled by the North. The professor who organized the trip said the move might be related to reports of Kim Jong Il [Kim Cho'ng-il]'s poor health.

Professor Leonid Petrov of Australian National University told Radio Free Asia yesterday that the North notified the group of the cancellation via e-mail and telephone. No explanation was provided.


Oct. 15 “New Delhi Mizzima Web sites down for several days due to hacking attempts”

The Web sites of Mizzima News, an independent Burmese multi-media group based in New Delhi, were suspended by its hosting server on the evening of October 9 because the site had attracted several hacking attempts. They became fully operational only on October 14.

… In its campaign against foreign broadcasting stations after September 2007 protests, the junta, through its mouthpiece, New Light of Myanmar, carried slogans that stated:

“Skyful of liars attempting to destroy nation, BBC lying, VOA deceiving, RFA setting up hostilities. Beware don’t be bought by those ill-wishers,” referring to the services of the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.


Hong Kong October 10, 2008

North Korean officials have turned to foreign radio broadcasts to get news and information from outside the totalitarian state, according to a newsletter run by defectors.

Foreign radio broadcasts available in North Korea include "Voice of Korea,"

from the South Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), Korean language broadcasting from the Yanbian region of China and other broadcasts of South Korean religious organizations and NGOs.


Dan Southerland’s book review of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China appeared in the October 7th edition. Dan described Leslie Chang’s book as ‘a compelling portrait of China's new working class.’ A copy of Dan’s complete review is included as an attachment to this report.


Oct. 8 “Religious figures call for early food aid to N. Korea”

A group of South Korean religious figures pressed the government again on Tuesday to send humanitarian aid to North Korea to alleviate serious food shortages facing the country.

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization told U.S.-based Radio Free Asia in August that the North will harvest a half million tons less than last year due to shortages of chemical fertilizer


Oct. 6 “S. Korea yet to verify N. Korean leader's reappearance”

Seoul officials said Sunday they have yet to verify a report that North

Korean leader Kim Jong-il has made a public appearance amid speculations that

his health is failing…Earlier Sunday, Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said that North Korea's report on the leader's appearance is likely aimed at preventing public alienation.…The RFA, monitored in Seoul, said the Chinese official had recently visited North Korea and met with Kim Yong-nam, the country's No. 2 leader who serves as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.


Oct. 3 “UN food agencies to assess North Korean harvests - US radio”

The UN's food agencies plan to send their experts to North Korea for the first time in four years to examine fall harvests and estimate needs for external assistance, a report said Friday…The UN agencies will resume their work as early as next week when a joint group of six agricultural experts from the two agencies will fly to North Korea with the North's government approval, an FAO coordinator told Radio Free Asia, a Washington-based station.