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2008/08/14 10:44 KST
North Korea-weekly review-2

   NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 16 (August 14, 2008)

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

Pak Kil-yon Appointed as N.K. Vice Foreign Minister

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has appointed Pak Kil-yon, the communist country's former ambassador to the United Nations, as a vice foreign minister, according to a North Korean news report monitored in Seoul on Aug. 7.

   The appointment was confirmed by a report of the North's official Korean News Agency on the departure of its titular head of state Kim Yong-nam from Pyongyang to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.

   Kim, president of the Presidium of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, was accompanied by "Pak Kil-yon, vice minister of Foreign Affairs, and other suite members," the KCNA said.

   This is the second time that the 65-year-old diplomat has risen to the vice ministerial position. Pak also held the position from September 1996 until being named ambassador to the United Nations in December 2001.

   He was replaced by Sin Son-ho, a former vice foreign minister, as the ambassador in early April.

   With the addition of Pak Kil-yon, North Korea's foreign ministry now has eight known vice ministers under the control of minister Pak Ui-chun.

   Experts say Pak Kil-yon is likely in charge of American affairs, given his expertise and experience with the U.N. and the United States.


N. Korea Expects Closer Relationship with Russia

SEOUL (Yonhap) - A top North Korean military leader called for closer cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow to ensure world peace and security as the two communist allies celebrate their 60th year of diplomatic ties this fall, the North's state-run radio station said on Aug. 8.

   The calling came in an address made by Kim Yong-chun, deputy chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC) at a banquet hosted by the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang on Aug. 7.

   "The DPRK (North Korea) and Russia will work more closely in efforts to ensure peace and security of the region and elsewhere in the world this year, honoring the 60th birthday of their diplomatic ties," the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station quoted Kim Yong-chun, as saying.

   "Mutual cooperation and exchange will also be expanded and strengthened this year through both sides' deep concern and joint efforts," Kim added.

   The banquet was held in honor of the month-long train journeys that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il made through Russia in August of 2001 and 2002 for talks with Russian leaders.

   "The visits contributed much to fostering better relations with Russia and securing peace in Northeast Asia and the world in the new century," Kim Yong-chun was quoted as saying at the dinner.

   The Soviet Union became the first country with diplomatic ties with North Korea in October 1948. But relations soured after the Soviet Union established formal relations with South Korea in 1990.


Nearly 2,000 Recycled Commodities Displayed in Exhibition

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Approximately 2,000 recycled commodity goods were on display at an annual exhibition held at a revolutionary museum in Pyongyang, a pro-North Korean daily published in Japan reported on Aug. 8.

   Choson Sinbo, organ of Chongryon, the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, said the exhibition was held from Aug. 1 under the name of "The August 3 People's Consumer Goods," which refers to daily necessities usually made from the scrapped materials and byproducts of factories, job sites and households.

   North Korea has held its annual exhibition of consumer goods and encouraged development of light industry as a means of improving people's lives since the mid-1980s. The exhibition has been carried out annually since North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, then North Korea's successor designate, gave on-the-spot guidance at the exhibition center in the North's capital on Aug. 3, 1984.

   The newspaper said that this year's exhibition showed as many as 2,000 daily necessities produced from 23 districts and counties in Pyongyang with active participation from factory workers, housewives and senior citizens.

   Previously, textile goods were displayed, but this year various kinds of daily necessities such as clothing buttons, hair pins, and traditional games and toys were also on display.

   In particular, the Pyongchon District of Pyongyang displayed some 50 new goods, including cloth bags and glass bead bags for children.


North Korea Claims Its First Gold at Beijing Olympics

SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea's media on Aug. 12 reported promptly that Pak Hyon-suk won the country's first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics,, topping the women's 63-kilogram weightlifting competition.

   The North's state-run Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station aired the news with her photograph in the evening news program.

   The 23-year-old lifted a total of 241 kilograms to win the gold, edging out Kazakhstan's Irina Nekrassova by a kilogram, while Lu Ying-chi of Taiwan won the bronze at 231.

   Pak, who finished third in the world championships last year, is the first North Korean to win a gold in Olympic weightlifting. The gold medal is also the first for the North at the Beijing Olympics that kicked off on Aug. 8.

   The feat came after North Korean Kim Jong-su was edged out by South Korean Jin Jong-oh earlier in the day in the men's 50-meter pistol finals, winning the silver.

   On the same day, North Korean judoist Won Ok-im defeated Claudia Heill of Austria to win the bronze in the women's 63-kilogram competition. Kye Sun-hui, a North Korean Olympic gold medalist, was also cut short in the judo preliminaries.