Einhorn Named Coordinator for Sanctions on N. Korea, Iran: State Dept.
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The State Department on June 10 announced the appointment of Robert Einhorn as the intra-government coordinator for implementation of U.N. sanctions on North Korea and Iran for their nuclear weapons ambitions.
"We would also mention that in addition to overseeing full and effective efforts to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, Bob will also similarly coordinate U.S. sanctions-related efforts, particularly those aimed at preventing the North Korean acquisition or transfer of proliferation-related equipment or technology, including full implementation of Resolutions 1718 and 1874," spokesman Philip Crowley said. "So in that respect, he will be assuming the responsibilities formerly held by Ambassador Phil Goldberg, who is now our assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research."
The announcement comes after the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1929 on June 9 to impose new sanctions on Iran, including a trade ban with 40 Iranian entities and individuals for their suspected nuclear weapons work. The resolution freezes their assets as well.
Einhorn is currently the special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He served as assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation under the Bill Clinton administration.
"He will take on these new responsibilities while continuing to provide advice and support to Secretary Clinton, the undersecretary for arms control and international security, and other department principals on the range of nonproliferation and arms control matters," Crowley said.
Einhorn's appointment coincides with the move at the Security Council by South Korea, the U.S. and their allies to punish North Korea for the torpedoeing of a South Korean warship, which killed 46 sailors in the Yellow Sea in March.
Crowley urged China to join the efforts by the international community to "send a very strong message to North Korea that these kinds of provocative actions will not be tolerated."
"I expect that this issue will come forward to the council in the next few days," the spokesman said. "China will have the opportunity to hear and understand precisely what we have heard and understood based on our participation in this investigation. And China will have the opportunity to again make its views clear."
Trade Suspension to Cost North Korea US$280 Mln Annually: Report
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A suspension of inter-Korean trade is expected to cost North Korea about US$280 million annually, a report said on June 11, pointing to more pressure on the North's cash-strapped regime in governing its country.
The report comes as tensions continue to escalate after a team of international investigators recently found the North to be behind the deadly sinking of one of South Korea's naval patrol ships by a torpedo attack. Pyongyang denies any role in the incident.
South Korea referred the March 26 sinking -- which killed 46 sailors -- to the U.N. Security Council on June 4. All trade with the North has been suspended with the exception of an industrial complex in the border town of Kaesong.
According to the report by the state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI), the loss estimate is based on North Korea's trade with South Korea last year, but excludes figures for the Kaesong industrial complex.
The loss was calculated with regard to a $234 million surplus the North posted in general trade last year and US$50 million profits from trade of processed goods, the report said.
"Excluding the Kaesong complex, the immediate impact will be felt in general trade that belongs to commercial exchanges and processed goods trade," the report noted.
General trade accounted for 15.6 percent of inter-Korean trade last year, while processed goods made up 25 percent. The ratio of the Kaesong complex was the largest at 57.3 percent, the report said. Last year, inter-Korean trade totaled US$1.68 billion.
The report said that a suspension would have a more negative impact on the North, considering South Korea is the socialist county's second-largest trading partner.
The North depends on inter-Korean trade for 32.8 percent of its total external exchanges, while the ratio for South Korea stood at 0.24 percent, according to the report.
The KDI said that the North will be pushing to find alternative trade partners to fill the holes, but it would be tough considering its main export items to the South consists mostly of agriculture products, coal and zinc.
"The first country on its mind might be China, which is its No. 1 trading partner. But China does not desperately need those items sold in the South and it is already exporting them," the report said.
Chinese Companies Hesitant to Invest in North Korea: Report
HONG KONG (Yonhap) -- Chinese companies are hesitant to invest in North Korea after the sinking of a South Korean naval ship in March, according to a Japanese media outlet on June 11.
A team of multinational experts concluded last month that the 1,200-ton Cheonan patrol ship was sunk in a torpedo attack by a North Korean submarine on March 26. Pyongyang denies any role in the deadly incident that killed 46 sailors and is threatening war for any punishment against it.
The incident has not only strained the inter-Korean relationship, but has also impacted the trade and investment between China and North Korea, said the Mainichi Shimbun.
"North Korea aims to draw foreign capital to an area near the North Korea-China border, but many Chinese enterprises, which initially intended to invest, have started to back off," the report said.
North Korea has long been reported as planning to build a free economic zone near the bordering Amnok (Yalu) River.
A North Korean foreign ministry delegation visited the Chinese border cities of Shenyang, Dandong and Fuxin in mid-May for talks on building a new bridge over the river to connect the two countries.
The report added that South Korea's move to levy additional sanctions on North Korea has had a negative impact on the investment of Chinese enterprises.
Last week, Seoul sent the case to the U.N. Security Council, with the U.S. and other allies slamming Pyongyang for the attack.
"If products from my food factory in North Korea are not allowed to get exported to South Korea, it is meaningless," a Chinese businessman was quoted as saying.
Many Chinese businessmen doubted if their financial losses will be properly compensated if the situation on the Korean Peninsula becomes worse, as the Chinese government has yet to fully cooperate on the investment in North Korea, the report said.
N. Korea Remains among 13 Worst Human Trafficking Countries: State Dept.
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- North Korea remains one of the worst countries in human trafficking, along with 12 other nations, the U.S. State Department said on June 14.
The 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report categorized North Korea with other Tier 3 countries that "do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so" under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
The congressionally mandated report cited North Koreans subjected to human trafficking in neighboring China while seeking food, work and freedom.
"North Korea continues to be a Tier 3 country in this year's report," Luis Cdebaca, director of the office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, told reporters. "We have not seen any indication that the North Korean government is actually addressing the human-trafficking problem."
North Korea has been on the list since 2003. The other countries with the worst records are Congo, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The U.S. government imposes financial sanctions and a ban on humanitarian aid on Tier 3 countries for two straight years.
South Korea was listed among Tier 1 countries, which fully comply with the minimum standards on human trafficking.
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution," the report said. "The most common form of trafficking involves North Korean women and girls forced into marriage or prostitution in China. Women and girls from North Korea migrate to China, often with the help of a facilitator, seeking food, work, freedom, and better life prospects."
China has been under criticism for repatriating North Korean refugees under a secret agreement with North Korea, categorizing defectors as economic immigrants rather than refugees, despite the danger of them being persecuted back home.
"If found by Chinese authorities, victims are deported back to North Korea, where they may face harsh punishment, and may be subject to forced labor in DPRK labor camps," the report said. "NGOs and researchers estimate that tens of thousands of undocumented North Koreans currently live in northeast China, and as many as 70 percent of them are women. Their status in China as economic migrants who may be deported to North Korea makes them particularly vulnerable to trafficking." NGO stands for nongovernmental organization.
A human rights report released by the State Department in March said that hundreds of thousands of North Korean refugees defected to China last year.
Repatriated North Koreans are subject to "a minimum of five years of labor correction," or "indefinite terms of imprisonment and forced labor, confiscation of property, or death," the rights report said.
Most North Korean refugees, fleeing poverty, head to South Korea via neighboring China.
South Korea has received about 18,000 North Korean defectors since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. The U.S. has taken in nearly 100 North Korean refugees since the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004.
The U.S. raised the refugee issue during the first human rights dialogue with China under the Obama administration held in May.
"I think again this is an area -- maybe another area where a more regular discussion about refugee protection issues could be a very useful thing," Michael Posner, assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, said at the time. "And we're certainly following those cases and we'll continue to raise them."
Cdebaca said, "What we'd like to see from the government of China is that there would be actual screening of people within that refugee flow to see which are the people who are actually trafficking victims... We'd like to see more screening and then more victim protections on the part of the Chinese government."
The official also expressed concerns about reports of abuse of North Korean workers abroad.
"When the North Korean government exports labor to other countries, are those people -- in the places that they're going -- do they have a modicum of freedom there? Or is the government sending, whether it's police or security services or others with them in order to keep them in line?" he said. "I think the Czech Republic actually terminated their contracts with (North Korea) because of their concerns of the type of abuse that was happening with the exported North Korean laborers."
More Than Half of Young N.K. Defectors Watch S. Korean TV Programs
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- More than half of North Korean teenage defectors viewed South Korean movies and dramas when they were in the socialist country, a survey said on June 14.
According to the survey conducted last month by Yoon Sun-hee, a professor for Hanyang University, 79 of 140 students, or 56 percent, in Hangyeore Middle and High School said they watched South Korean films and TV programs in North Korea.
North Korea reportedly strictly bans its people from viewing South Korean broadcasts and films.
Hangyeore, located in Anseong, 77 kilometers south of Seoul, is a school for North Korean defectors founded in 2006.
Among the respondents, 57 students said they saw South Korean movies on DVD and 43 claimed to have watched videotaped dramas, while 15 watched broadcasts on TV, the survey showed.
It did not say how the students had obtained the South Korean DVDs and videos, or gained access to the broadcasts.
Forty students said they could see the South Korean programs whenever they wanted and five watched them everyday, when asked how often they had seen the banned films.
The survey also showed that 21 teenagers said they had watched the programs once a month, six said once a year, while seven students experienced the South Korean material only once during their lifetimes in North Korea.
According to the survey, most of them said South Korean films and dramas were "interesting," although they had to view them secretly in the reclusive country.
"It's hard to make generalizations but the results are surprising," said Prof. Yoon. "The result itself indicates that North Korea is more open than we expected."
"The study shows that North Korean teenagers tend to protest against the regime and also enjoy their lives," she added.
Some 125 respondents were living near the North Korea-China border, while 15 others were living closer inland, including Pyongyang.
North Korea, China to Produce Film on Korean War
HONG KONG (Yonhap) -- North Korea and China will jointly produce a film marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, according to the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang on June 15.
The announcement was posted on the official Web site of the Chinese embassy amid heightened tensions after North Korea's sinking of the warship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea in March this year, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.
"The piece will help North Korea and China promote friendly relations we traditionally have had," said Liu Hongcai, Chinese ambassador to Pyongyang, on the site.
The two sides have yet to decide on the plot of the film, but agreed to finish the film by the end of the year, the Web site said.
The 1950-53 war broke out on the Korean Peninsula with the invasion by North Korean troops supported by their communist allies, China and the Soviet Union, and ended in a truce, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war.