Results of DPRK-USA Talks as Announced by the DPRK Foreign Ministry

[This is the text published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, 29 February 2012. It is obvious that announcement of the  agreements had been synchronized by the two sides to be issued at the same time. The exact wording and emphasis differ in the two versions. For example, the US statement makes no mention of the 6-Party Talks, nor of the “priority” of discussing the lifting of sanctions and the provision of light water reactors. Nevertheless, the main features of the agreements, relating to the nuclear and missile moratorium and the provision of nutritional assistance, are virtually the same. –CanKor]

The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Wednesday gave the following answer as regards questions raised by KCNA concerning the result of the latest DPRK-U.S. high-level talks:

A paramilitary policeman stands guard in front of the North Korean embassy ahead of bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S., in Beijing February 23, 2012. (Photo: Reuters, Jason Lee)

Delegations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States of America (U.S.) met in Beijing, China on 23rd and 24th of February for the third round of the high-level talks between the DPRK and the U.S.

Present at the talks were the delegation of the DPRK headed by Kim Kye Gwan, the First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the delegation of the U.S. headed by Glyn Davies, the Special Representative of the State Department for the DPRK Policy.

The talks, continuation of the two previous DPRK-U.S. high-level talks held respectively in July and October, 2011, offered a venue for sincere and in-depth discussion of issues concerning the measures aimed at building confidence for the improvement of relations between the DPRK and the U.S. as well as issues related with ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and resumption of the six-party talks. Read the rest of this entry »

US-NK Talks: No Expectations, No Breakthroughs, by Chris Nelson

[The following is taken from three editions of The Nelson Report, with kind permission by the author. –CanKor.]

22 February 2012: Day 1 US-NK Talks… No Expectations

US special envoy Glyn Davies (L) speaks to the media after the first day of bilateral talks with DPRK in Beijing on 23 February 2012. (Photo by Mark RALSTON, AFP/Getty Images)

Coincidence, but predictable… both Iranian and N. Korean nuclear ambitions are on the table now, the former with potentially dire consequences for failure, the latter, frankly, expected to be just more of the same.

US-N. Korea “exploratory” talks are now underway in Beijing, and preliminary conversation with Administration sources makes clear there has been no advance indication from Pyongyang that the situation is back to its potentially positive elements just prior to Kim Jong-il’s death…much less ready to pick up and move forward:

“Chris, there’s a reason these talks are called ‘exploratory’, and it’s because we just don’t know whether the North is ready to take real steps in the direction of denuclearization, better relations with neighbors, and all of the humanitarian/ human rights issues we care about. Not pessimistic or optimistic, just realistic…”

You will recall that the weekend before Kim’s demise, a US announcement was expected the following Monday of “nutritional assistance” in return for some movement on nuclear issues, to be followed at the end of the week by Special Envoys Glyn Davies and Ford Hart to Beijing, to test the 6 Party Talks waters. That meeting has just begun, and upon arrival, Davies told the press that resuming the 6PT is really up to the North, adding that he, personally, wants “to talk about the future, not about the past”. Read the rest of this entry »

New Travel Opportunity in North Korea!

[DISCLAIMER: CanKor is not responsible for the content of this advertisement. Weingartner Consulting is not a commercial partner of Koryo Tours, nor do we receive any financial benefit from posting this announcement. We do so only to alert our readers of interesting opportunities, since one of the most frequently asked questions concerns the possibility of travel to the DPRK. –CanKor]

New Travel Opportunity in North Korea!

Unique and exciting chance in travel to the most unique areas in the country – Let the adventure begin!

Koryo Tours is proud to once again be the first and only company to offer an all-new tourism opportunity for anyone wanting to go and see some of the more remote parts of North Korea. – allow us to explain;

We have been running tours to the Rason Special Economic Area for several years now; this part of the DPRK is located in the far North on the Chinese and Russian border and offers a look at the least visited part of the world’s most unique country – and the only place in North Korea where tourists can visit a local market, local bank, and many other unique spots. Lying to the south of Rason the major industrial centre of Chongjin and the stunning mountains of the Chilbosan range have long been among the most difficult parts of the DPRK to get to due to the need to charter a plane from Pyongyang to reach this area – here you can overnight in the only homestay in the country as well as seeing the highlights of the second largest city in the DPRK and some of the most stunning scenery in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Nick Bonner: The Englishman welcomed in North Korea

[CanKor Brain Trust member Nick Bonner was featured in a Yonhap News Agency article written by Andrew Salmon and published on 23 November 2011. Congratulations, Nick! –CanKor]

Bonner with Hong Yong-hui, the star of the film "Flower Girl," at the Pyongyang International Film Festival 2008. (Courtesy of Nick Bonner)

When it comes to jobs that raise eyebrows, Nick Bonner’s line of work is up there with crocodile wrestler and organ procurer. As the founder and director of Koryo Tours, the 50-year-old Englishman makes a living guiding tourists into the world’s most isolated state — North Korea.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and if I didn’t love the people,” he said. “If I wanted the easy option, I would be doing tours to Hawaii.”

Bonner’s life path was not paved in advance. Having studied landscape architecture in the U.K., he planned to be a countryside ranger. But a visit to Beijing in 1993 at the invitation of his friend Josh Green, leading to a friendship with a North Korean, changed his future.

“We played (football) with him and became mates, and he was going back to North Korea to work for the tourism board,” Bonner recalls. “He said, ‘We need Western tourists. Do you want to come?'”

Green and Bonner gathered a group of eight pals and entered the Hermit Kingdom.  “It was an eye-opener,” said Bonner, who was drawn to both Pyongyang’s cityscape and its inhabitants. (The latter is something visitors to the North often remark upon — the unsophisticated, old-fashioned charm of the populace.)

Sensing opportunity, Green and Bonner founded Beijing-based Koryo Tours that year. Although their Pyongyang contact greased bureaucratic skids, business was slow, so Green and Bonner decided to open “Poachers,” Beijing’s first live music nightclub. Green then departed, leaving Bonner as the sole operator of Koryo. Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK Business Monthly Volume II, No. 8

The city center of Kaesong, North Korea.

Kaesong City Center, DPRK

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the September 2011 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly September 2011.

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • Coca-Cola in Pyongyang?
  • Russia sends food aid
  • Russia may write-off DPRK debt
  • The story behind Noko jeans
  • NGO Initiatives in the DPRK
  • Pipeline could open new inter-Korean era
  • NK cruise ship completes maiden voyage
  • DPRK opens online medical service

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators.

Please feel free to consult the full issue by clicking on this link: DPRK Business Monthly September 2011

Last Chance to join Political Tour to DPRK

Political Tours joined forces with DPRK tourism specialists Koryo Tours (which includes Brain Trust member Nick Bonner) to provide unprecedented access to one of the world’s most isolated regions. Offering participants a wide-ranging look at life inside the DPRK, this 10-day visit is led by Dr James Hoare, formerly UK Charge D’affaires in Pyongyang. Brain Trust member Hazel Smith has been involved in briefing UK-based participants the current tour.

Beginning in Beijing with briefings and analysis from the region’s leading experts on the DPRK, the tour aims to provide both the latest analysis on the region and an inside view of life in the country, including visits to areas that are rarely seen by foreigners. The itinerary includes not merely the capital Pyongyang, but also Wonsan, an important port on the east coast, Hamhung, the DPRK’s second largest city which was closed to foreign tourism until 2010, and a close look from within the northern side of the DMZ. Travelers will gain rare access to factories, a university, a farm, and several schools. Not to be missed is the train ride from Pyongyang back to Beijing!

The dates are 15-26 October 2011, so any readers wishing to join must begin to obtain visas immediately. The cost is £2350.00, which includes accommodation in 4 star hotels in Beijing and 3 star hotels in the DPRK, as well as all meals during the visit. 

For more information, please contact Political Tours.

The following is a detailed description of the in-country itinerary: Read the rest of this entry »

North Korean Refugees in China: Looking at the Evidence

The DPRK-PRC Border, near Tumen, PRC (Summer 2010)

The debate on humanitarian aid to the DPRK rages, both here on CanKor as well as outside of CanKor’s virtual walls. However, there is one aspect of this unfortunate situation that is often overlooked in the ongoing dialogue: what happens to those who are affected by hunger.

The previous famine in North Korea brought many changes to the country, but none was possibly more remarkable than the catalyst it provided for the largest exodus of people the country had seen since the Korean War. The numbers betray this story: pre-famine, the Ministry of Unification tells us that there were less than 1,000 North Koreans settled in the ROK. As of April 17, there are more than 21,000. Read the rest of this entry »

American released after being held in North Korea

The Associated Press reported today that an American man held by North Korea for a half year, for allegedly proselytizing has been released and will return to the United States. His release was negotiated by US envoy Robert King. King had travelled to North Korea with a team of specialists earlier in the week to assess the severity of North Korea’s latest food shortages.

King says he did not agree to provide North Korea with assistance in exchange for Mr. Jun’s freedom.

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