Looking back at 2014: DPRK and regional news

In our third review of 2014, we look at some of the North Korea related news, and stories which put the peninsula in a wider East Asian context.

Kim Jong-un pictured with walking stick in the Rodong Sinmun, 14 October 2014
Kim Jong-un pictured with walking stick in the Rodong Sinmun, 14 October 2014

Domestic news

Tabloid stories

DPRK on screen

Rappers Pacman and Peso in their hip-hop video Escape to North Korea
Rappers Pacman and Peso in their hip-hop video Escape to North Korea

Cultural engagement

Purges

Human rights

  • On 17 February the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK launched its report. Botswana immediately severed diplomatic ties with North Korea, but China dismissed the report.
  • On 13 September North responded with its own report  (full document here), and declared itself open to dialogue with non-hostile states – and a senior diplomat, Kang Sok-ju, came for talks in the EU, some say to avoid an adverse vote at the UN General Assembly later in the year.
  • There were reports that the DPRK started moving prisoners out of Yodok to make it look like a collective farm.
  • On 26 October the North Korean YouTube channel Uriminzokkiri uploaded a video casting doubt on the credibility of Camp 14 escapee Shin Dong-hyuk
  • On 18 December the UN General Assembly adopted a text requiring the report to be submitted to the Security Council with a recommendation that the Security Council refer the situation to the International Criminal Court and impose “targeted sanctions against those who appeared to be most responsible for acts that the Commission of Inquiry had said could possibly constitute crimes against humanity”
  • The DPRK rejected the resolution, promising that “The service personnel and people of the DPRK will smash the hostile forces’ reckless “human rights” racket through unprecedentedly toughest counteractions and firmly defend the socialist system, their life and soul.”

Americans in North Korea

  • An American called Matthew Miller tore up his tourist visa as he went through north Korean immigration and claimed he had come to the country “after choosing it as a shelter”. He was arrested for gross violation of North Korean law.
  • Another American tried to swim to North Korea across the Han River near Gimpo, saying he wanted to meet Kim Jong-un. He was taken into custody by South Korean marines
  • American missionary Kenneth Bae was released after years of detention in North Korea  . Matthew Miller was returned on the same plane, after a release negotiated by director of national intelligence James Clapper, the highest ranking American to visit North Korea in more than a decade.
  • Another American, Jeffrey Fowle, was released after six months in custody for leaving a bible in a Pyongyang nightclub.

DPRK and China

The Two Koreas

South Korea and China

Could be worse

Could be better

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