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2008/10/23 10:47 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 26 (October 23, 2008)

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

N. Korea Holds Yun I-sang Concert with S. Korean Musicians

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea in mid-October held an annual music concert to cherish the memory of a Korean composer, inviting a South Korean delegation of musicians amid chilled relations with Seoul.

   According to the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the 27th Yun I-sang Concert was held from Oct. 15-17 at the Yunisang Concert Hall in Pyongyang.

   The KCNA reported that "a South Korean cellist" performed along with the North Korean orchestra.

   It was the first time that musicians of two Koreas performed together in the concert, while a delegation from a South Korean foundation named after the late composer was in the audience.

   The North's minister and vice minister of culture both appreciated the performance.

   Yun I-sang, who was ostracized in the South for alleged North-friendly activities in violation of the anti-communist National Security Law, died in Berlin in 1995 without returning to his hometown in the South.

   Yun, a world-famous composer, is now widely recognized in both Koreas, with even his hometown holding an annual music festival named after him.


N. Korean Leader Supplies Farming Materials: Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has supplied agricultural materials to a fruit farm in the socialist state, Pyongyang's state-run media reported on Oct. 17, in an apparent bid to disprove reports that he is ailing.

   The materials were delivered in a ceremony held at the farm in Kosan, Kangwon Province, attended by Pyongyang officials, including Kim Il-chol, the North's state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) said.

   Kim Jong-il made an on-site guidance tour at the farm in early May. He did not attend the recent ceremony, according to the report.

   On Oct. 11, North Korea's state media released photos of Kim inspecting a women's military unit, marking the first time Pyongyang has released a photo of Kim in 56 days. There are suspicions, however, that the photos could have been taken as far back as mid-August.

   Kim's absence from recent state events, including a parade marking the 60th anniversary of the nation's founding, has fanned speculation about his health.

   South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials said the 66-year-old Kim underwent surgery after suffering a stroke in mid-August and is now recovering.

   On the same day, KCBS also reported that Kim recently sent some 100 books and computer disks to the People's Grand Study Hall, the country's top public library.

   The farm in Kosan was created in 1947 at the instruction of late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung to supply fresh fruit to the country's 1.1-million-strong military, according to sources in Seoul.


North Korea Stresses 'Socialist Principles' in Economic Management

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea stressed the importance of applying socialist principles in operating the economy, the North's news outlet said on Oct. 20.

   The statement came at the extended plenary meeting of the Cabinet, which was presided over by Premier Kim Yong-il, to discuss matters pertaining to the tasks proposed in a thesis published by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

   The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said those who participated in the meeting discussed how to enhance the supremacy of the socialist economy proposed in the thesis of Kim Jong-il.

   According to the North's reports, Kim Jong-il's thesis stressed the importance of applying socialist principles in affirmation of the North's ruling Workers' Party's "consistent principles of economic management."

   The meeting was attended by ministers and observed by state planning commissions, economy organizations and major enterprises of each province and city, the KCNA said.

   "The participants discussed how to strengthen the state's central-oriented control and supervision of economic projects, while emphasizing ways of agitating the people's collective spirit along with (economic) collectivism," the KCNA said.

   The discussion also dealt with how to boost the production of main sectors of the people's economy and develop economic relations with foreign countries, the KCNA said without adding further details.

   The meeting reviewed the third quarter's economic planning and budget while considering the fourth quarter's action plan in the national economy, it added.