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2008/06/26 10:45 KST

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

Chinese Vice President Ends Visit to North Korea

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping left North Korea on June 19, wrapping up a three-day visit for talks with Pyongyang officials, the North's official news agency reported.

   Xi was seen off at the Pyongyang airport by Yang Hyong-sop, vice chairman of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), and Workers' Party Secretary Kim Ki-nam, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   North Korea was the first leg of Xi's five-nation tour that also included Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen.

   The Chinese vice president, widely seen as the front-runner to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2012, delivered a message from Hu to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il when he met with Kim on June 18, according to the North's news outlets.

   While in Pyongyang, Xi also met with Yang and Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the SPA Presidium who serves as the country's ceremonial head of state.


N. Korea Says Inter-Korean Projects in Jeopardy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on June 22 that inter-Korean economic projects have been jeopardized by the "hostile policy" of South Korea's new government.

   In a statement carried by its official news agency, the North claimed that the Lee Myung-bak administration is intentionally dragging its feet on an agreement signed by its predecessor to facilitate "communication, passage, and customs" for joint ventures between the two Koreas.

   The two sides operate a joint industrial complex in Kaesong, a town just north of heavily-fortified inter-Korean border, and tours of Mt. Kumgang on the North's eastern coast.

   They are said to be among the most tangible fruits of South Korea's "sunshine policy" of engaging its communist neighbor in the past decade.

   The conservative Lee administration, however, said it will link the pace of the joint businesses with the development of efforts to rid Pyongyang of its nuclear program.

   "Its hostile tactic is well shown in the (slow) implementation of the agreements for communications, cross-border passage, and customs procedures associated with the cooperation and exchanges in the Kaesong and Mt Kumgang zones," a spokesman for the North's delegation to inter-Korean military talks said in the statement.

   The South Korean government is not carrying out the agreement, creating an artificial obstacle to the inter-Korean projects, added the unidentified spokesman.

   South Korea's Defense Ministry hoped that the two sides could resolve the issues as soon as possible but expressed regret about the North's remark.

   "It is regrettable that the North keeps accusing the South of hampering implementation of agreements on the issues as it doesn't respond to our request for dialogue, though both nations earlier agreed to have working-level talks aimed at finding detailed action plans," the ministry said.


'Inter-Korean Relations Face Worst Crisis': Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed on June 22 that Inter-Korean relations face their worst-ever crisis due to the Lee Myung-bak government's policy in cooperation with U.S. forces, alluding to South Korea's alleged pursuit of a military edge over the North.

   Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said the relations are at their lowest ebb because the South is asserting the anachronistic theory of "unchallenged military edge." The article was carried by the (North) Korean Central News Agency.

   According to the North, the theory calls for having an unchallenged edge over the North by bolstering aggression forces under an arms buildup plan and completing a coordinated operation system with the U.S. and making preparations for "immediate counteraction" of the armed forces.

   It also claimed it is almost like South Korea's moves in the past when it treated the North as a "principal enemy," not as a partner for reconciliation and unity, the newspaper said.

   The organ also alleged Lee's government is joining outsiders' war moves after throwing away the June 15 joint declaration between the South and the North in 2000 and the idea of "By our nation itself."


'Normalization Is Good for Both North Korea and Japan': Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- As North Korea and Japan made a breakthrough in working-level talks in Beijing in mid-June, North Korea on June 23 claimed that the normalization between the two is good for both countries.

   The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, "To normalize the relations between the DPRK (North Korea) and Japan and develop good-neighbor relations between the two countries are in line with the desire and interests of their peoples."

   "The harmful relations between the DPRK and Japan have lasted for more than half a century, since the end of World War II, and this is harmful in every aspect," the KCNA said.

   At the working-level talks in Beijing on June 11-12, the North agreed with Japan to reinvestigate the abduction issue, which has blocked the normalization process, while Japan promised to ease some sanctions against Pyongyang.

   However, due to the negative response from the public, including families of abductees after the talks, the Japanese government showed a reluctant attitude, saying it will ease sanctions only after the North carries out the reinvestigation properly.

   The KCNA said that the negative response is coming from Japan's ultra-rightist organizations with a "sinister aim to seize power and realize the militarization of Japan in the end."

   "If Japan persists in the confrontation with the DPRK as asserted by the right-wing forces of Japan at a time when certain progress is made in the process of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, it will never be able to get rid of the situation where it is regarded as a cumbersome party in the six-party talks," it added.

   The six-party talks are comprised of two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia.


N. Korea Calls for the U.S. to Drop Anti-North Policy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- On the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the start of 1950-1953 Korean War, North Korea called on the United States to drop its anti-North policy demonstrated by its arms build-up and joint military exercises with the South.

   Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a June 25 editorial that if the U.S. wants really peace on the Korean Peninsula, it should respond to the North's efforts to set up a permanent peace system on the peninsula.

   The North invaded the South on June 25, 1950. However, the North still claims that the war was planned and initiated by the U.S., calling the war a "Fatherland Liberation War" against the "U.S. imperialists."

   The newspaper warned that the North cannot help strengthening its war-deterrent power unless the U.S. forfeits its hostile policy against the DPRK, which stands for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

   It also criticized the Lee Myung-bak government for participating in the joint exercises with foreign forces, "increasingly endangering the peninsula with the risk of a second Korean War."

   It urged all Korean people to defend peace on the peninsula in unity, while calling for its people to hold high the banner of "Songun (military-first) politics" led by Kim Jong-il, adding that peace is kept intact only when one's power is strong enough.