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2008/08/28 11:03 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 18 (August 28, 2008)

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

North Korea Cooperates with New Zealand to Protect Migrant Birds

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is cooperating with New Zealand to protect migrant birds that fly an incredible distance back and forth between the countries, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper reported Aug. 22.

   According to Choson Sinbo, organ of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, the North's Fund for Nature is strengthening its cooperation with the Miranda Naturalists' Trust in New Zealand to survey and monitor birds such as sandpiper.

   Two kinds of rare sandpiper, which left the Oceanian island country in May, were later found in the North Korean counties of Eunryul and Mundok, the newspaper said. It had not been clear by which routes the birds flew before this finding.

   The birds, which were known to have come from New Zealand by an identification ring researchers had placed on their leg, are decreasing in numbers by five percent annually due to factors such as climate change, the newspaper said.

   The two nations' organizations will exchange related data next spring, it added.

   The Washington-based Radio Free Asia on Aug. 14 reported that joint survey team of North Korea and New Zealand will start study of migrant birds in Amnok (Yalu) River bordering China in April.


N. Korean Media Criticize Lee's Remarks on War Exercises

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state-controlled news media on Aug. 24 called South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's remarks that Seoul should be fully ready for any possible conflict with North Korea "unpardonable."

   Lee said on Aug. 18 in Seoul's cabinet meeting that South Korea should maintain its readiness since there is always the possibility of a limited conflict with North Korea.

   Calling Lee's remarks "unpardonable wild words of war" and "a virtually grave provocation," the remarks by the North's weekly newspaper, Tongil Sinbo, were carried in a commentary on Uriminzokkiri, the North's official Web site.

   The remarks clearly show Seoul's "criminal intent" to provoke a conflict with the North, the newspaper claimed, warning that those who provoke the North will only face "bitter failure, disgrace and death."
The meeting presided over by Lee was held in an underground bunker as part of the South Korea-U.S. joint military drills last week.

   The annual drills involving tens of thousands of troops from the South and the U.S. are defense-oriented, but the North routinely criticizes the exercises as a prelude to war.

   Washington currently maintains some 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against possible aggression from North Korea. The two Koreas technically remain at war as the Korean War ended only with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.


Rodong Sinmun Stresses Commitment to Non-Aligned Movement

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's mouthpiece on Aug. 25 stressed its continuing commitment to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which has been part of the heritage of the Third World since the Cold War era, on the occasion of its entrance into the NAM more than 30 years ago.

   Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, made the statement in an editorial commemorating the 33rd anniversary of North Korea's emergence as a full-fledged member of the NAM, which is mainly comprised of developing countries.

   During the Cold War era, the North had committed itself to the NAM, giving aid to African countries despite its worsening economic situation since the early 1970s, in an apparent bid to gain diplomatic support from the United Nations and other international organizations against the South.

   "The DPRK (North Korea) has steadily enhanced the position and influence of the NAM in the international arena by playing its role as a member nation," the newspaper said. "Kim Jong-il has paid deeper attention to the development of the NAM to cope with the rapidly changing international situation in the new century."

   The DPRK will also in the future make positive efforts to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Asia and the rest of the world, it added, highlighting the role of the NAM as "powerful anti-imperialist independent forces in our times."

   The North engaged in a diplomatic war of nerves with the South at an NAM ministerial meeting held in Tehran, Iran, in late July, while reflecting the fact that inter-Korean relations were chilled by the launch of conservative government in Seoul this year.


N. Korea Blames S. Korea for Allegedly Increasing War Risk

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A social organization under the North's ruling party on Aug. 25 blamed President Lee Myung-bak's government, which has stressed alliance with the United States, for allegedly increasing the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.

   The blame came in a report made by the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) under the control of the North's ruling Workers' Party on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of a pre-military alliance document between Seoul and Washington.

   The report, carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said President Lee's government is barring inter-Korean relations and increasing the danger of a nuclear war with the U.S. by massively introducing weapons of mass destruction into the South, claiming that the six decades that have passed since the conclusion of the South Korea-U.S. "tentative military agreement" have been shameful years.

   The CPRF secretariat also claimed that with the agreement, South Korea was reduced to an advance and logistic base to provoke a war against the DPRK, such as the 1950-1953 Korean War.

   However, the agreement signed on Aug. 24, 1948 was basically made to support the "withdrawal" of U.S. forces from the South at that time, which actually facilitated the North's invasion of the South and the outbreak of the Korean War.

   The military alliance between the South and the U.S. was concluded in October 1950, only after the beginning of the war.

   Meanwhile, the secretariat also slammed the recent joint military exercise between the U.S. and the South, calling the South's forces a "shock brigade in the war of aggression" against the North.