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Title NK Brief, March 22, 2018 Date 2018.03.27
Attach 180322_NK Brief_No3-4_(Tourism, Russia-DPRK relations, inter-Korean relations).pdf
□ North Korea improves website to attract more foreign tourists
As it is actively improving its relations with South Korea and the United States, North Korea has also become enthusiastic in attracting foreign tourists through the modification of its website for tourists.

According to Seoul Pyongyang News on March 20, North Korea recently reorganized its official tourism website, DPR Korea Tourism (tourismdprk.gov.kp), which came online last year for the purpose of introducing major North Korean tourist spots and travel itineraries to foreign tourists.

In July 2017, a month after American college student Otto Warmbier died following his release from a one-year-seven-month detention in North Korea, the DPRK opened this new website and reorganized it eight months later.

The new website reorganized by the State General Bureau of Tourist Guidance consists of several sections that provide information on tourist sites, theme tours, festivals and events, travel agencies, and service facilities.

The website features four different itineraries available for the tourists: three days four nights, five days four nights, eight days seven nights, and fourteen days thirteen nights. Furthermore, it presents a wide range of theme-tour packages, ranging from experiencing a worker’s life, mountain climbing, aerial tour of Pyongyang city, surfing, sight-seeing by plane, and train/public transportation to Taekwondo demonstrations. Many of these packages offer the tourists a first-hand experience of life in North Korea. Pyongyang has made active efforts to attract foreign tourists with such programs.

Under the heading of festivals and events, the website introduces the country’s most popular events such as the Kimilsungia-Kimjongilia Exhibition, Spring Friendship Art Festival, Paektusan Prize International Figure Skating Festival, Pyongyang International Commodity Exhibition, Korea Postage Stamp Exhibition, and Pyongyang International Film Festival.

The website does not disclose the prices for these travel packages, and states that the packages are available only through 38 foreign travel agencies, including Young Pioneer Tours (UK) and Korea Konsult AB (Sweden), and some local North Korean operators such as the Paektu Travel Company, Chilbosan Travel Company, Myohyangsan Travel Company, and Rason International Travel Company.

□ Russia and North Korea hold joint meeting on cooperation in trade, economy, science and technology
The DPRK-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for cooperation in trade, economy, science and technology occurred at the People’s Palace of Culture in central Pyongyang on March 21.

According to the KCNA, the North Korean delegation was headed by Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae, while the economic delegation from the Russian Federation included Minister of Development of the Russian Far East Aleksandr Galushka as well as Russian Ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora.

The seventh meeting was held in Pyongyang in April 2015. This year, the Russian delegation arrived in North Korea on March 20 to attend the meeting.

According to the KCNA, “The two sides discussed the issues of further expanding and developing trade, economic and scientific cooperation between North Korea and Russia.” Specific agenda for the meeting was not disclosed.

On the same day, the Russian delegations met with DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu-chol and presented to him a gift for North Korean leader, Chairman Kim Jong Un.

Russia and North Korea are respectively sanctioned by the United States and the international community. The expansion of cooperation between the two countries appears somewhat of a position where “misery loves company.”

South Korea’s Yonhap News reported on March 22 that the two countries would discuss bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy, agriculture and fisheries, transportation, and science and technology.

In addition, the news agency said Galushka invited the North Korean leadership to the 4th Eastern Economic Forum scheduled to be held in Vladivostok in September. “We will discuss trade and economic relations between Russia and North Korea within the framework set forth by the United Nations Security Council,” Galushka said at the beginning of the meeting. According to what the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East disclosed on its website, the Russian minister also said that Russia is “ready to provide full support for the
establishment of bilateral cooperation that does not violate the international sanctions.”

□ Majority of South Koreans say North Korea is a “partner in cooperation”
More than half of South Koreans perceive North Korea a partner in cooperation.

According to the results of a quarterly public survey released by the National Unification Advisory Council on March 20, seven out of ten respondents expect that the upcoming summit meeting between the heads of South and North Korea would make an improvement in inter-Korean relations.

In the study that surveyed 1,000 adults from across the country, 70.1 percent of the respondents expressed their expectation that the third inter-Korean summit would contribute to improving inter-Korean relations and building durable peace on the Korean peninsula. In addition, 36.8 percent said it would contribute to easing military tensions, while 33.4 percent hoped for establishing a peace regime on the Korean peninsula and 32.3 percent wanted to see
such humanitarian issues as the reunion of separated families resolved.

62.2% answered that inter-Korean relations would be improved in the future, a 23.2% increase from the fourth quarter last year. The significant increase reflects the high optimism created by the restoration of dialogue between the two Koreas following the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

In particular in South Korea, public perception of North Korea has changed. The 42.5 percent of the respondents in the previous quarter viewed North Korea as a ‘cause for alarm’ or ‘subject of hostility’; but this ratio dropped to 32.5 percent, while those who viewed it as a ‘partner for cooperation’ or ‘subject of support’ surged from 42.5 percent to 50.1 percent.

In their assessment of South Korea’s special presidential envoys’ visit to Pyongyang, 38.1 percent of therespondents listed North Korea’s revelation of an intention to denuclearize and resume dialogue with the United States as their most significant accomplishment. 20.1 percent of the respondents, on the other hand, listed Pyongyang’s pledge to halt nuclear and missile tests and to refrain from using nuclear and conventional weapons against South Korea while having a dialogue with the United States as the most important success. 17.3 percent of
them listed the agreement on having the third inter-Korean summit at Panmunjom, 9.5 percent listed the agreement on establishing a hotline between the two Korean leaders, and 3.3 percent listed the agreement on Taekwondo demonstration and art troupe performance in Pyongyang as the most important results.

Of the respondents, 55.2% said that North Korea is likely to reform and open itself in the future. In terms of influence on Korean unification, 53.4% pointed to the United States as the country that would have the greatest influence on unification, while 34.2% pointed to China and 2 percent to Japan.
 
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