Visit The 11th Pyongyang International Film Festival

31 07 2008

Dates: 17-26 September 2008
Venue: Pyongyang, D.P.R. of Korea.
Organizers: DPRKorea International Film Corporation.
Special Cultural Delegations: Everyone interested, including US citizens and off-duty journalists, is welcome to join one of the
Special Delegations organised by L&J Development & Consultancy. Book your trip…

Focus of the Film Festival:

The 11th PIFF aims at encouraging the development of national film in all countries by promoting exchange and cooperation among the world film makers under the ideal of Independence, Peace and Friendship.

The festival program consists of feature film competition, documentary and short film competition, special and informative screenings and consultation for film exchange

Hundreds of professional and armature filmmakers from all around the world will bring their works and compete for the “Torch Prize”, International Jury Award, Management Award and Special Screening Prize.

The deadline for booking is 15 August 2008.


Russia’s ‘Power Politics’ and North Korea

22 07 2008

The sharp rise of oil and gas prices has enabled Moscow to utilise its mammoth energy reserves to achieve domestic and foreign policy goals. The new Russian ‘power politics’ have already been tested on the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, and recently the Czech Republic. Russia’s Far Eastern frontier is now turning into the place where energy export becomes a political tool in shaping the country’s relations with regional neighbours. China, the two Koreas, and Japan are hungry for energy, natural resources and, at the same time, strive for economic and political cooperation. In such circumstances, the opportunities offered by trans-national railroads and pipelines appear to be more powerful than weapons. Given this new leverage and understanding, can Russia exert its soft and hard power upon North Korea in promoting the goals set in the Six-Party Talks?

See the full text of Leonid Petrov’s article “Russia’s ‘Power Politics’ and North Korea” here…

Lifting sanctions on NK brings little change

5 07 2008

Newsis wrote that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said that the removal of the DPRK from the state sponsor of the terrorism is merely symbolic, and the heavy oil that was given in return for the nuclear report is nothing valuable. On a nationwide radio show, the U.S. secretary of state mentioned that the removal from the state sponsor of terrorism would not give any actual benefit, and that is because international multilevel sanction still exists. She also mentioned that the U.S. is planning individual verification, and the heavy oil given in return can only be used for heating. This speech could cause of further diplomatic trouble in that it is implying that the DPRK volutarily doing the agreements, although the compensation is nearly worthless. (“CONDOLEEZA RICE ‘REMOVAL FROM THE STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM IS MERELY SYMBOLIC'”, 2008/07/18)

Nicole Finnemann of Korea Economic Institute writes in her article “Explosive Progress in the Six Party Talks: What’s Left To Do When It Is All Done?”

“No longer an “enemy” or “sponsor of terrorism” state, North Korea has now been promoted to a state with a lot of sanctions. With the rhetoric gone, the substance of the restrictions placed on the DPRK still remains. However, given the relative silence from the DPRK following a brief statement that they were “pleased” to hear Bush’s address, one could ask whether it is possible that what transpired last week—or rather, what did not transpire—was enough to satisfy at least one party at the table…”

For its part, the United States kept its end of the deal—removal of North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list and lifting the application to it of the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA)—without enacting any real change. Rescinding North Korea’s designation as an SST is an easy step to take, with merely two requirements: a) that the DPRK not have provided support to international terrorism in the last six months; and b) that it give assurances that it will not provide future support. While Congress has until August 10 to enact a joint resolution that would block this from happening, no action is necessary to allow it to pass, and as of August 11 Secretary of State Rice may complete the rescission.

Lifting TWEA, however, required more invention to provide the North with the political concession it was seeking, without actually enacting any concrete change. With the announcement by President Bush of his termination of President Truman’s 1950 imposition of TWEA on the DPRK, a variety of sanctions, not elsewhere covered, would have been effectively lifted. However, almost simultaneous with Bush’s announcement, the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House issued an Executive Order by the president declaring a “national emergency” to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy posed by the current existence and risk of proliferation on the Korean peninsula. The national emergency, as stated in the order, necessitates the continuance of certain restrictions on North Korea that would otherwise be lifted pursuant to the termination of TWEA—i.e., replacing most, if not all, restrictions that termination may have undone.

Statements from the U.S. Treasury further explain that no substantive actions with regard to lifting sanctions on North Korea have actually been taken. North Korea will not have restored access to the international banking system, from which it was largely cut off in 2005 amid the Banco Delta Asia money laundering and counterfeit allegations. Although about $25 million in frozen North Korean funds in Banco Delta Asia was released in 2007, the Treasury’s regulations regarding the bank, which prohibit U.S. banks from undertaking transactions with it, remain in effect. International banks have largely shunned Banco Delta Asia as well. Sanctions aimed at ending North Korean money laundering, illicit financing activities, and weapons proliferation will remain in effect, as well as sanctions that prohibit U.S. companies from owning, leasing, operating, or insuring North Korean-flagged shipping vessels, and from registering vessels in North Korea. It is difficult to ascertain what restrictions have actually been effectively lifted…

See the full text of the article “Explosive Progress in the Six Party Talks: What’s Left To Do When It Is All Done?”