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2008/10/30 10:54 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 27 (October 30, 2008)

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea Marks China's Participation in Korean War

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Oct. 25 recalled its traditional relationship with socialist China, its "blood ally," as it commemorated its neighbor's participation in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

   The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said wreaths were laid before the Friendship Tower in Pyongyang on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteers' entry into the Korean front.

   "Red" China entered the Korean War in late October 1950 on the side of the retreating North Korean army, overrunning U.S. soldiers in a massive attack that was one of the worst defeats of the U.S. in its military history.

   Representatives of the North's parliament, army, foreign affairs ministry, foreign trade, friendship association and Pyongyang city government attended the ceremony, reflecting the importance of the event, according to the KCNA.

   Wreaths were also laid at the cemetery of fallen fighters of the Chinese People's Volunteers in Hyongjesan District, Pyongyang, on the same day.

   Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK (North Korea) Liu Xiaoming and Chinese residents in North Korea also laid wreaths.

   Meanwhile, China sent the art troupe of the Political Department of the Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, headed by its Deputy Director Song Kun, to the North to perform for guests of honor at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on the occasion of the anniversary.


North Korea Carries Out Autumn Land Management Campaign

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has briskly carried out its autumn land management campaign in a bid to give a facelift to roads, improve rivers and streams, plant good species of trees and beautify towns, the North's news outlet said on Oct. 27.

   The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said efforts are being channeled into giving a new appearance to roads across the country, while projects for lowering river beds and repairing dikes and covering them with stones have been successful.

   North Korea has carried out the land management campaign every spring and fall since October 1996 after it suffered from great floods in 1995 and 1996, while setting up the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection.

   "Besides provinces, cities and counties are preparing good species of tree saplings such as the Changsong larch to create forests and beautify cities," the KCNA said. The North is running a 10-year program to make thick forests from 2001 to 2010.

   Meanwhile, Minju Joson, the organ of the North's Cabinet, on Oct. 19 said the Cabinet adopted a decision to institutionalize the grand mobilization of people for the land management campaign.


North Korea Appoints New Forestry Minister

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has appointed a new minister of forestry, which was belatedly known through a broadcast on Oct. 29.

   The North's state-run Radio Pyongyang introduced Kim Kwang-ryong as minister of forestry -- instead of former Minister Sok Kun-su -- in its morning broadcasting on the ministry officials' pledge to carry out leader Kim Jong-il's recent discourse as announced on Oct. 10.

   The new minister worked as an official at the Provincial Forestry Administration Bureau in Kangwon Province last year, while the former minister had served in the post since October 2004.

   Kim Kwang-ryong said in the interview that the ministry officials are studying Kim Jong-il's work hard, adding they will contribute to building the country into a Kangsong Taeguk (great, prosperous and powerful country) by producing as many logs as possible.


North Korea's Former Vice President Pak Song-chol Dies

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A former North Korean vice president and a key actor in late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's fight against Japanese colonial rule has died of chronic disease, the North's official media reported.

   "Pak Song-chol, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK) and honorary vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), died of long illness at 5 a.m. on Oct. 28," read an obituary carried on Oct. 29 by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Pak was 95.

   The obituary included the names of the WPK Central Committee, the SPA Presidium and the North Korean Cabinet, and also announced that a state funeral would be held for Pak on Oct. 30.

   North Korea's titular head of state, Kim Yong-nam, will chair a 65-member state funeral committee composed of ranking party, military and government officials, the report said.

   North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who is Kim Il-sung's son, sent a wreath in honor of Pak on Oct. 29, the KCNA said in a separate report. The junior Kim is widely suspected to be ailing.

   Born in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in what is today South Korea, Pak joined Kim Il-sung's campaign to liberate Korea from Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s.

   After Korea's liberation in 1945, Pak served in a number of top party, military and government posts. Among those were serving as ambassador to Bulgaria, the director of the international department of the Communist Party, foreign minister, premier and state vice president.

   He was fifth in the list of the North's state funeral committee for the late North Korean leader in 1994 and fourth in the funeral of O Jin-wu, a former top military leader, in 1995.

   In 1972, he made an unofficial visit to Seoul to discuss inter-Korean exchange programs and met with then South Korean President Park Chung-hee.

   Pak essentially retired from public service in 1998 when he was named an honorary vice chairman of the SPA Presidium.

   "He was a faithful revolutionary soldier who devoted his whole life to the cause of national liberation and working class liberation and socialist construction and the independent reunification of the country under the leadership of President Kim Il-sung," the obituary said.

   "Pak's whole life was the life of a Juche (self-reliance)-type revolutionary who devotedly worked for the Party and the leader and the country and its people," it noted. "Though he passed away, the precious exploits performed by him for the Workers' Party and the revolutionary cause will always be remembered."