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2008/11/20 10:31 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 30 (November 20, 2008)

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

Nuclear Sampling Is beyond Disablement Phase: Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan, which indirectly represents Pyongyang's position, said on Nov. 15 that nuclear sampling is beyond the current phase in its nuclear disarmament, reaffirming statements by the North's foreign ministry three days earlier.

   Choson Sinbo, the organ of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, said that based on the principle of action-for-action, sampling of plutonium from the North's nuclear facilities would call for reciprocal steps by the U.S. that go beyond the second phase of the denuclearization process.

   The newspaper added sampling would provide the other parties with a "clue" as to the extent of the North's entire nuclear program.

   The North's foreign ministry on Nov. 12 said the method of verification would be confined to field visits, confirmation of documents and interviews with technicians, and not the collection of samples.

   The organ described the current disablement phase as an introductory step in the dismantlement of the North's nuclear facilities, and that any discussion of the North's nuclear weapons would come following the dismantlement of its nuclear programs.

   The paper also criticized the delay in holding six-way talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, saying the delay is due to intentional foot dragging by Japan and South Korea, which it said are raising the question of the verification issue.


'Engaging the U.S. Excluding the South Is a Sophism': Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's media flatly rejected as sophistry Seoul's concern that it is trying to engage the United States while excluding the South following the election of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who said he would be willing to meet with the North's leader, Kim Jong-il.

   Tongil Sinbo, North Korea's primary organ on South Korean related issues, said in its Nov. 15 edition that normalization between the North and the U.S. is a matter between the two states, while the South has nothing to do with it.

   The weekly article was carried by the North's official Web site, called Uriminzokkiri, on Nov. 16.

   The magazine noted that the South is at a loss following the change in Washington from the "hawkish" Republican party under outgoing President George Bush, with which it said the Lee Myung-bak aministration worked to build close ties while alienating Pyongyang.

   The authors described the so-called theory of excluding the South while engaging the U.S. as nothing but a tactic by Seoul to dodge responsibility for derailing inter-Korean relations.

   "The Republic's (North Korea) position has been consistent in that inter-Korean matters should be solved by our own nation between the Korean people," it said. "If the South really wants to improve inter-Korean relations, it should first accept and carry out both the summit declarations of the two Koreas."

   The conservative Lee administration has been reluctant to implement the inter-Korean agreements reached under the previous liberal governments in Seoul.


N. Korea Rejects Proposal for Inter-Korean Dialogue as 'Hypocritical'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Nov. 17 labeled as hypocritical South Korea's recent proposal for inter-Korean dialogue, claiming the proposal is nothing but an attempt to evade responsibility for the worsening relationship between the two Koreas.

   Seoul on Nov. 13 urged the communist nation to come to the dialogue table, one day after Pyongyang threatened to block passage by all South Korean tourists and businesspeople engaged in inter-Korean projects across the border that divides the two Koreas.

   The North has yet to officially reply to the South Korean message addressed to the North's chief delegate to the general-grade military dialogue between the divided Koreas. Pyongyang said the border will be shut down from Dec. 1.

   In an apparent response to Seoul's call to resume inter-Korean dialogue, the North's Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper published by its ruling Workers' Party, on Nov. 17 claimed the proposal is nothing but an attempt to redirect public criticism over shattered inter-Korean ties toward Pyongyang.

   "Needless to say, such tragic developments as the deadlocked North-South dialogue are attributable to traitor Lee Myung-bak's treacherous 'policy toward the North' and the frantic moves of his group to scuttle dialogue," the newspaper said in a commentary carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency, referring to the South Korean administration as "Lee's group."

   "It is the steadfast stand of the whole nation that nothing can be expected from this traitorous regime," it said.

   Blocked entry into North Korea could seriously damage over 80 South Korean businesses operating factories in the North's border town of Kaesong.

   Many officials in Seoul believe the North will not actually take any steps that could seriously hurt the inter-Korean industrial complex, where over 35,000 North Koreans are currently employed earning hard currency for their cash-strapped country.

   Others say the socialist nation rarely bluffs, noting Pyongyang still refuses to apologize over the deadly shooting of a South Korean tourist at its Mt. Kumgang resort, which has led to the shutdown of the South Korea-developed resort that has earned millions of dollars since its opening 10 years ago.

   The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with a cease-fire, not a peace agreement.


Pyongyang Slams Seoul's Motion for U.N. Resolution on N.K. Human Rights

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean media on Nov. 18 slammed Seoul for its recent motion to pass a U.N. resolution on the North's human rights situation, saying the motion threatens to push inter-Korean relations towards a collapse.

   Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, and Minju Joson, the organ of the Cabinet, branded the Lee Myung-bak government's action as an intolerable mockery of the DPRK's "dignified system."

   The North's official Web site also posted a commentary on the same day urging Koreans nationwide to fight against the "Lee group."

   Earlier the North's Red Cross Central Committee on Nov. 12 decried the South's co-sponsoring of the resolution at the 63rd U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 11, before withdrawing its representative at the truce village of Panmunjom and cutting an inter-Korean telephone line.

   "The Lee regime is the worst confrontation-minded regime in history," Rodong Sinmun said. "Traitor Lee considers 'human rights' racket and the nuclear row as a basic means to stifle fellow countrymen in collusion with outside forces."

   The North's media also criticized the South for conducting a lobbying operation to have the paragraph of the draft resolution supporting the previous inter-Korean summit declarations deleted.

   The North denies that its "people-oriented socialist country" has human rights problems.