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

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

Foreign Delegations Visit N. Korea Following Reports of Entry Ban

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state media have recently reported the arrival of two foreign delegations in Pyongyang following a Japanese news report that foreigners would be banned from entering the country ahead of an "important announcement" by Pyongyang.

   Sankei Shimbun, citing an unnamed official at Japan's Defense Ministry, said on Oct. 19 the North Korean government has ordered its diplomats overseas to stay in place for an important announcement that may come on Oct. 20 and will ban entry of foreigners starting that day.

   The day passed, however, without any announcement from Pyongyang.

   Seoul has said no significant movements had been detected in North Korea.

   Despite reports of a travel ban on foreigners, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported on Oct. 20 that a delegation from Myanmar's Ministry of Sports led by Minister Aye Myint arrived in Pyongyang.

   The news agency also reported on the same day that a government delegation from Namibia led by Foreign Minister Marco Hausiku arrived in Pyongyang and met with the North's Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun.


N. Korean Daily Highlights U.S.'s Conflicts with Russia, China

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official newspaper, highlighted on Oct. 19 the United States's political conflicts with China and Russia, citing analysts as saying the tension will not be resolved any time soon due to the nature of the world powers' relations.

   The organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party said that though the U.S. maintains good relations with China superficially, the countries are increasingly unhappy with each other.

   The newspaper said, for example, that the U.S. angered China by announcing a plan to export arms to Taiwan and advocating for the "separatist forces" of Tibet. It added that Washington views China not as a potential enemy, but as a real one.

   The following day, the newspaper claimed ties between the U.S. and Russia are also gradually worsening, saying armed conflicts like the one seen in Georgia in August are likely to happen again as Washington encroaches upon Moscow's sphere of influence through NATO.

   The daily said in a separate article that the root of such tension is Washington's power-based foreign policy. But it said the world is not unipolar any more, but multipolar.

   The newspaper also said that military coercion does not make sense in the current political context, and called for the U.S. to forfeit moves to strengthen forces in South Korea, Japan and Guam.


North Korea Pinpoints Globalization as Cause of Financial Crisis

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Globalization is the fundamental cause behind the recent financial crisis, an official North Korean newspaper said on Oct. 20.

   Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said that though many Western economic analysts claim the financial crisis broke out due to reckless lending, the real blame lays with the United States-led international financial system.

   The report was carried by the Pyongyang's official Web site, "Uriminzokkiri," monitored in Seoul.

   Globalization has been pushed by the U.S. since 1990s, and forced many countries to reform and open up their financial sector, the daily said. The 1997 Asian financial crisis was a result of this, it said, claiming that the economies of other countries have also fallen at the hands of the International Monetary Fund.

   "Nowadays many countries the world over are blaming the U.S., which has caused such financial crisis," the newspaper said, citing criticisms from leaders of Russia, Indonesia and Venezuela.

   Though the U.S. is busy trying to prevent a global financial meltdown, the situation is inevitably worsening, Rodong Sinmun said. It also quoted a Hong Kong-based newspaper as saying, "The life of U.S. financial system hangs by a thread."


North Korea Threatens 'Consequences' for Anti-communist Leaflets

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Oct. 21 accused the South Korean government of inciting and condoning the massive distribution by civic groups of leaflets that "slander" the socialist state, threatening "grave consequences" that could develop into a new war.

   The Lee Myung-bak government is supporting the airdrops of such leaflets by "conspiring with and patronizing" the groups, Minju Joson, the organ of the North Korean Cabinet, claimed in a commentary carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   "What matters is that such scattering of anti-DPRK leaflets may entail very grave consequences," the commentary said. Such a "psychological campaign" will annoy the North Korean army and the people, and any accident along the inter-Korean border may trigger an armed conflict, it said.

   "It is beyond any doubt that this conflict will develop into a new war ... It is crystal clear that in that case, the Lee group will not be safe, either," the commentary continued. "In the final analysis, the Lee group is digging its own grave."

   The North's warning came days after the Seoul-based Fighters for Free North Korea and two other groups of defectors flew large balloons carrying tens of thousands of propaganda leaflets into the North to coincide with the 63rd founding anniversary of the country's communist party on Oct. 10.

   The socialist state later threatened to cut even civilian ties with South Korea if its conservative government keeps pursuing a tough policy toward the North.

   Pyongyang stopped official dialogue with Seoul and evicted all South Korean government officials from its territory about a month after President Lee Myung-bak took office in late February in retaliation for his North Korea policy. Tourism to North Korea's Mt. Kumgang has been suspended since a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean woman participating in the tour in early July.

   Earlier this month, the North's top delegate to the inter-Korean military talks said continued floating of leaflets from the South would have a negative impact on tourism and the industrial complex in Kaesong, a North Korean border town.

   The two Koreas agreed to cease propaganda activities along their heavily armed border in high-level military talks held in 2004. But South Korean groups have continued to send anti-North leaflets, some of which have been attached to radios that can broadcast information into the North.

   The groups involved in the campaign said they will continue spreading leaflets despite threats from the North and their government's request to stop.


North Korea Says Japan Not Qualified in Six-Party Talks

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Oct. 21 said Japan, which refuses to join the energy support for North Korea in the six-party talks, should be deprived of the qualification to participate in the multilateral talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

   Minju Joson, the organ of the North's Cabinet, said, "It is the view of the DPRK that now is the time to have an exhaustive discussion on the qualification of Japan to participate in the talks as it has persistently stood in their way ... It is quite natural to deprive the Japanese reactionaries of the qualification."

   DPRK is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or the North's official name, and the six-way talks are comprised of the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia alongside Japan.

   The article came as Japan affirmed it would not send its share of the heavy oil provision of 200,000 tons promised to the North in return for the disablement of the latter's nuclear facilities, citing the absence of progress over the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North during the Cold war era.

   The newspaper noted Japan is still using the abduction issue to block the process of the six-way talks even after the U.S. delisted Pyongyang from the 'state sponsors of terrorism.'

   Meanwhile, foreign news service said Australia or the European Union might replace the role of Japan in the heavy oil support. Japan, whose diplomacy centering on the abudction issue was hurt after the delisting, is reportedly concerned it will lose its leverage of economic support linked with the abduction issue.