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2008/07/24 11:24 KST

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea Adopts Regulation on Border Trade with China

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- As trade between North Korea and China has risen steadily for the past years, the North's Cabinet has adopted a regulation on operating trade posts on the border of China.

   Minju Joson, the organ of the Cabinet, on July 18 said the regulation adoption means a legal guarantee tightening discipline in external economic business through border bridges while continuing to improve trade posts.

   The report, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, said the regulation pertains to the mission of trade places, principles in management and operation, and boundaries of the application, but it stopped short of specifying anything more.

   North Korea's trade with China, its No. 1 trading partner, surpassed US$2 billion last year. North Korea shares its longest border with northeastern China.

   Recently, border trade has drastically decreased due to inspections by the North's authorities to root out "non-socialist factors" in trade, which began in March, according to media reports in Seoul.

   But trade between China's Dandong and the North's Sinuiju, one of the major border trade routes, has risen again since early July, when the inspections ended.

   There are also many cases of illegal trade across the river between the two countries, said a North Korean watcher who has been to the border region lately.


North Korea Downplays G-8 Summit

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea played down the G-8 summit, which was held at Hokkaido, Japan, in early July, saying the leading western countries have a limited ability to address global issues.

   Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, on July 21 said the G-8 countries could not agree on major current issues like global warming. The report was carried by the North's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri.

   It said the U.S., the No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, was responsible for the failure because it betrayed the proposed promise of G-8 to reduce the gas by 50 percent by 2050.

   The U.S., on the contrary, blamed developing countries such as China and India, which were invited to the meeting, for the growing gas, resulting in counterarguments from those emerging markets.

   The newspaper quoted analysts saying that the G-8 meeting was a gathering of leaders who are suffering domestically from low approval ratings, while the participants turned the meeting into a competition of interests by each country.

   "Though western countries often boast with their big mouths, this G-8 meeting proved again that they cannot solve the political and economic problems in the world," it added.


North Korea Supports China's Policy of 'One Country, Two Systems'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on July 22 supported China's policy of "one country, two systems" in relations with Taiwan and Hong Kong, saying the policy is bearing fruit lately.

   Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said China and Taiwan improved relations over the Straits as shown in the resumption of direct flights between China and Taiwan from early July, adding China's policy gave momentum to engagement efforts by the new government in Taiwan.

   "The cold relations over the Straits have become warm since early this year after China and Taiwan pointed guns at each other for the past decades," the newspaper said, adding the relations over the Straits are improving rapidly in diverse areas.

   It also said China's policy has guaranteed Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, recalling that last year was the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to mainland China.

   The North has basically insisted on the application of "one country and two systems" in inter-Korean relations in the name of the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo.

   But inter-Korean relations have chilled since the launch of the new conservative government in Seoul in February, which was followed by the July shooting death of a South Korean female tourist.


North Korea Finishes Seventh in Math Olympiad

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea came in seventh in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Madrid, Spain, finishing one spot higher than last year, officials in Seoul said on July 22.

   According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, North Korea got a total of 173 points, up from 151 points in 2007. The North got two gold medals and four silvers.

   This year's competition was attended by 820 high school students from 97 countries from July 10-22.

   China finished at the top of the standings, followed by Russia, the United States and South Korea. The South won four gold and two silver medals with 188 points.

   First held in 1959, the IMO is the premier international mathematics competition, with six high school students from each country. The countries informally rank themselves against each other by adding up their individual scores.

   Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia based in Washington said on the same day that the North has participated in the IMO five times and this year's result was its best.