For the last week or so, a British YouTuber named Louis Cole has been uploading dispatches from North Korea. Rather than focusing on the state’s constant surveillance, arbitrary arrests, and murders of its own citizens, Cole is focusing on the positive aspects of the North Korean experience, such as the water parks.
University of Virginia undergrad Otto Warmbier has been sentenced to fifteen years in a North Korean labor camp after copping to an attempted heist of a DPRK propaganda poster. If this sounds like the kind of thing a college kid would try in order to look cool back at UVA, that’s because he says it was.
In 2008, Ryu En Nam, a North Korean defector, was extradited from Russia and executed. He was tied to the train going back to North Korea. “It was horrible. The train started moving and for as long as he could, Ryu En Nam ran with it,” human rights lawyer Lubov Tataretz said, recalling what a Korean diplomat’s son had told her, a few years after she tried and failed to prevent Ryu En Nam’s extradition. Under a recently signed treaty, the few asylum seekers who manage to escape the hermit kingdom and make it to Russia will be forcibly repatriated, to a country where prison inmates have to burn bodies of those who starve to death and use the remains as fertilizer.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered his country’s nuclear arsenal to be ready for pre-emptive use “at any time,” Agence France-Presse reports. Tensions are high after the U.N. Security Council approved stringent new sanctions on Pyongyang last week, and South Korea passed new human rights legislation.
Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who has been imprisoned in North Korea since the beginning of 2016, was presented before assembled press in Pyongyang today to deliver what appeared to be a hopelessly coerced confession, in which he admitted he attempted to steal property from a staff lounge at the hotel where he was staying. After, Warmbier broke down in tears and begged for his release back to the United States.
North Korea confirmed on Sunday that it launched a satellite into space in the early morning, calling the move “peaceful,” despite no one believing that for a second.
South Korea’s weather agency, the Korea Metrological Administration, said it detected an “artificial earthquake” 30 miles north of Kilju, where North Korea’s main nuclear testing site is located. According to the Associated Press, the U.S Geological Survey confirmed seismic activity of magnitude 5.1.
The great leaflet-inspired standoff is over: North and South Korea have reached an agreement to deescalate tensions along the DMZ. As part of the deal, the South has promised to stop broadcasting propaganda over the border, and the North has expressed “regret” over the mine explosion that injured two Southern soldiers.