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Title NK Brief, February 8, 2018 Date 2018.02.13
Attach 180208_NK Brief_No2-2_(Power and water supply, DPRK-US relations).pdf
□ Power and water supply in North Korea worsens in winter
Reportedly, North Korea’s electricity and water supply have sharply deteriorated since mid-January this year.

According to a Seoul-Pyongyang News report on February 8, a Chinese resident in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, who is currently visiting China, told Radio Free Asia that the supply of electricity in North Korea began to deteriorate in January and that since the middle of the month the water supply was completely suspended due to the lack of power.

“Even if electricity is not supplied, lighting is possible with solar power, but the problem is that there is no supply of tap water,” the same source said. “People living in high-rise apartments are suffering more than those living in conventional houses,” he added.

People can draw ground water from the well. However, since elevators in high-rise apartments are not functioning due to the power shortage, those residents must carry water on their back while climbing several flights of the stairs.

Until last year, people could buy bottled water that North Korean truck drivers smuggled in from China. But this year even that has become difficult due to the international sanctions. It is said to be difficult to find such bottled water in North Korea ever since the Chinese customs authorities placed a complete ban on smuggling of all goods by truck drivers crossing the border.

In the meantime, even Pyongyang, which often has the best supply of electricity, is said to have faced a substantial cut in power supply in January.

A Chinese resident in Pyongyang who has recently visited China claimed that “except for the central districts in Pyongyang, power is supplied only for two or three hours a day, yet the worst problem is that water supply is suspended as well due to the deteriorating energy conditions.”

“Even if electricity is not supplied, people can cope with many problems using sunlight [solar power], but there is not much they can do to solve the shortage of water for drinking, toilets, and other daily uses. All family members have to focus on resolving the water shortage,” the source added.

Although there are some differences depending on the region, another North Korean source says that in recent months Pyongyang has suffered from more than ten power failures a day.

□ DPRK condemns President Trump’s State of the Union address and the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review
In the form of an interview with the foreign ministry spokesman, North Korea has taken issue with US president Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

According to a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report on February 4, in his interview with the state news agency, the North Korean foreign ministry spokesman condemned President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address.

The spokesman argued that it is the height of President Trump’s arrogance, dictatorship, and self-conceit that the president described the last year as a year full of “incredible progresses and extraordinary achievements.”

In response to President Trump’s avowal of placing ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea, the spokesman belittled Trump’s remarks: “It is nothing more than a nasty petulance to hamper the improvement in inter-Korean relations . . . . North Korea will defeat the United States thoroughly with its military power, including the nuclear armed forces, so that President Trump would not be able to act with reckless bravado in the Korean peninsula.”

Furthermore, in a reply by the spokesman of the American Studies Institute of the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, North Korea denounced the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

According to a KCNA report on February 6, in an interview with the KCNA, the spokesman said, “The United States has declared a nuclear war against the world by developing new types of nuclear weapons, including a low-explosive tactical nuclear warheads, and declaring that it will make a preemptive nuclear strike on the enemy, regardless of whether the enemy makes a nuclear or non-nuclear attack against it.”

“Trump is begging for a nuclear war,” the spokesman added, and also asserted that it was the right decision for North Korea “to consolidate its nuclear deterrence in response to the US nuclear threat.” He furthermore stated that North Korea is a “peace-loving, responsible nuclear power,” and that it “will not use nuclear weapons unless the hostile invading forces violate the sovereignty and interests of the DPRK. Neither will it threaten any country or region with its nuclear weapons. It will, however, respond firmly to the act of destroying peace and security in the Korean Peninsula"