Cambodian Foreign Minister arrives at Pyongyang for an official visit; North Korea threatens a ‘merciless sacred war’ against South Korean media groups; Two North Koreans arrested while allegedly trying to steal Ukraine rocket technology
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  • (JUNE 4-10)

    According to reports, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong recently arrived at Pyongyang for an official visit. During this visit, Namhong was to urge North Korea to resume the disarmament talks which has been stalled since late 2008. Next month, some North Korean officials are to visit Cambodia for a regional conference. 1

    In another development, according to reports, North Korean military recently threatened a ‘merciless sacred war’ against certain media outlets of South Korea due to the latter’s critical coverage of a mass children’s festival that was recently held in Pyongyang. This is the latest in a series of threats aimed at South Korean conservative government and its media since the demise of North Korean leader Kim Joung il in December last year. Pyongyang has also demanded an apology from Seoul for its ‘vicious smear campaign’ against the festivals in the North. 2 However, while reacting to the North’s threat, South Korean Unification Ministry accused Pyongyang of ‘crossing the limit’ with series of threats recently. Seoul has also urged Pyongyang to start repaying the South for past food aid. 3

    In a recent development, two North Koreans were apprehended and sentenced to eight-year imprisonment for their alleged attempt to steal rocket technology from the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Ukraine. The Bureau is reportedly in charge of rocket and satellite development. It was primarily responsible for manufacturing R-36M multi-warhead ICBM which had the 11,000 kilometer range during the Cold War era. The two North Koreans were reportedly looking for liquid fuel engine systems that could increase the range of a rocket. According to experts, if Pyongyang had succeeded in acquiring the technology, it could have helped them in building rocket that could reach the continental US. 4