Korea cancels beer festival
North Korea has abruptly canceled a beer festival that was due to start on Wednesday. Analysts say drought in food-producing parts of the country could be the reason.
The Taedonggang Beer Festival is supposed to showcase domestically produced beers. The reclusive country started the event last year as part of an effort to attract international tourists. North Korea’s state-run media has reported on a new brand that was supposed to be unveiled at the upcoming festival, which was scheduled to run until the end of August.
A Beijing-based company that organizes tours to the North says it doesn’t know why the event was canceled, but cites a severe drought as a possible reason. Last week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a report detailing serious food shortages in the country due to a drought that’s been plaguing it since April.
In a different part of the country, there are fears of serious damage from heavy rains and flooding.
-We’ve been hearing so much about this ICBM, missile launch about North Korea. To me it’s the first time that I came across with this news, about beer and drought.
-That’s true, in regard to North Korea recently, the media has been heavily covering the nuclear and missile development there. And how the international community is dealing with it. So the stories about the beer festival and the drought in the North gives us a different perspective of what else is happening in the reclusive nation.
-I think that the fact that North Korea produces beer was new to many people.
-Is there anything you beer in mind when you actually deliver the news?
-Well, I try to convey the news, convey the information, not just read the stories. I think of what the point of each story is.
-I always keep in mind before I go on air what the point of the story is and what the “who”,”when”,“where”,”why”,”how” of the story is. And how I convey that is by using stresses. Stressing some words more than others and using pauses. Pauses are just as effective as stresses sometimes.
-A UN report released earlier this year says an estimated 18 million North Koreans suffer from food insecurity. Two-thirds of the population depend on food rations. But the country, as you know, in heavily sanctioned under UN restrictions for its nuclear missile tests. And those sanctions have affected humanitarian efforts. Quite a dilemma for the international community.
-But some people would argue that it would be better for North Korea to spend its money on feeding its people rather than on missile launches. What do you think?
-You always have to be on your toes.
-I always have to be prepared. The news is being updated all the time. And we often have breaking news, as you just saw in the video. So, I always have to be ready for anything. And of course, I want to make sure the next newscast is better than the last.
-What kind of change have you found in America over the past six months?
-Well, there have been many changes since the inauguration in January. But to name a few that made headlines here across the Pacific, for starters, Trump pulled the US out of the Transpacific Partnership Agreement and the Paris Climate Accord, two deal that the international community worked very hard to negotiate. Also, the Trump presidency has raised major security questions in Asia.
-The Trump administration says “all options are on the table”.
-You’ve been delivering the news almost every day. What do you like the most about doing that?
-I feel it really broadens my perspective and knowledge of the world. It gives me a realistic view of what’s happening. And, what’s also interesting for me is connecting the dots, What happening somewhere far away in another country far, far away across the Pacific or around the world, Well, you know, it affects us.