For the 14th time within the last two and a half years, the local representative of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, Walter Klitz, travelled to North Korea. The purpose of this trip was to prepare an event on “Aspects of Sustainable Environmental City Development”, which will take place end of November this year.
Mr. Klitz used the opportunity for an extensive four-hour exchange of views with officials of the Worker’s Party, thanking them to be true to their word and releasing the two US-American journalists early August. During his previous visit, end of May, the local representative had firmly urged the North to set free Laura Ling and Euna Lee as a humanitarian act and a gesture of good will. During his political talks, that took place only a few days before the state visit of the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the Chinese-North Korean relations, inner Korean affairs, the question of denuclearization, the Six-Party-Talks, the current food situation as well as the effect of the imposed sanctions against North Korea were discussed…
In the Western world as North Korean “charm-offensive” perceived friendly activities of the past months, that indeed contributed to creating a friendlier political climate, was talked up to be “positive change” within the relations towards the South and the United States. The FNF representative recommended caution in this regard. He said that the friendlier tone should no be misinterpreted as substantial progress. Creating a favourable atmosphere alone would not touch the substance of the actual problems. The world, Mr. Klitz said, expects a strong signal of denuclearization.
On his trip Mr. Klitz got the impression that foreign direct investments, especially from China and some Arab countries, were increasing clearly. At the time of the talks the harvest had not yet been cropped completely. Still a strong tendency loomed ahead that rice crop is going to be above average this year, while corn will be down 30-40%.
Cultural highlight of the two day visit to Pyongyang was a piece of Russian fine art and symbol of the North Korean-Russian bonds. Mr. Klitz got the chance to attend a performance of the “Pyatnitzky Folk Art Troup”, the Russian response to the concert of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra that played in Pyongyang in February 2008.