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2008/12/04 10:39 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 32 (December 4, 2008)

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

North Korea Sends Condolences to India over Bombing

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea sent condolences on Nov. 28 to India after the latest terrorist attacks on the South Asian nation's city of Mumbai.

   Kim Young-nam, North Korea's titular head of state, sent condolences to Indian President Pratibha Patil, saying that the North condemns the "inhuman terrorist deed and extends firm solidarity with the Indian government's efforts to save the situation and maintain the social stability," the North's ruling Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

   The death toll in the terrorist shootings and blasts in Mumbai rose to 124 people, Bloomberg reported, citing India's Ministry of Home Affairs.

   At least 284 people have been injured in the attacks, including 22 foreign nationals.

  
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N.K. Denounces Japan over Recent Raid into pro-Pyongyang Offices

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea accused Japan on Nov. 29 of trying to raise diplomatic tensions and "suffocate" overseas pro-Pyongyang groups by mounting a politically motivated probe into their financial affairs.

   Japanese authorities arrested a former ranking official of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, this week on charges of creating tax reports without a license.

   Investigators also raided several offices of the pro-North organization in Tokyo starting in October, looking into allegations of wide-ranging financial irregularities.

   In its English report monitored in Seoul, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency denounced the probe as an "unpardonable politically motivated crackdown," saying Japan has "stretched the tentacles of suppression."

   The commentary by the official news agency came along with a separate Korean report in which Minju Chosun, a paper run by the North's Cabinet, was quoted as saying Tokyo has conducted the raids to pressure Pyongyang over the issue of Japanese abductees.

   Relations between the two countries have been at their lowest levels in years as North Korea continues to deny Japan's claim that Pyongyang has yet to return all of the Japanese nationals its agents kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s.

   The abductions of Japanese citizens is one of the thorniest issues hampering progress in their ties, despite recent breakthroughs in multinational efforts aimed at denuclearizing the North.

   "We will not stand by idly against the political suppression on Chongryon," the paper was quoted as saying.

   Chongryon was founded in 1955 and has since largely acted on behalf of North Korea in Japan. The two nations have no diplomatic relations.

   Last year, Japanese officials raided several houses of pro-Pyongyang residents after allegations arose that a woman in her seventies tried to illegally ship medical supplies to North Korea.

  
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North Korea Rebuffs U.N. Resolution on Its Human Rights

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's mouthpiece flatly rejected the West-led resolution on the North's human rights situation at a U.N. committee, saying the resolution was fabricated by Japan and the European Union with a political motive to tarnish its image.

   The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Dec. 1 said Japan and the EU have the 'sinister aim' of covering up their history of past aggression through the 'human rights' offensive, which is also aimed at pushing the West's own interests and westernizing the whole world.

   The 3rd Committee of the 63rd U.N. General Assembly passed the resolution on DPRK (North Korea) human rights on Nov. 21, and the General Assembly is expected to vote on the matter in December.

   The news outlet categorically repeated the North's account that Korean-style socialism centered on the popular masses has no problem in human rights at all.

   The "human rights racket" by the West only compels the DPRK to reinforce all the measures to defend its sovereignty under the uplifted banner of Songun (military-first), more deeply enshrining the truth that human rights precisely mean sovereignty, the KCNA added.

  
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North Korea Shows Interest in Rooting Out Somali Piracy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea expressed interest in helping to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia following the return of its delegation from an international meeting in early December to discuss the issue, which is having a detrimental effect on trade and shipping through the sea lanes.

   Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said on Dec. 1 the coast of Somalia is turning into 'a sea of fear and devils' due to the increasingly serious acts of piracy there, adding the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution to send warships to the area.

   A delegation of the DPRK (North Korea) Maritime Administration headed by its Vice Director Jon Ki-chol participated in the meeting hosted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization. The group will exchange opinions on the matter in Britain from Nov. 26 to Dec. 5.

   The reclusive communist state's cooperation with the international community in combating piracy comes after one of the country's trading ships was hijacked off the coast of the East African country in October last year before being freed with the help of the U.S.

   Somali piracy will be solved solely through joint international action on the seas but also by ending the civil war in Somalia, the organ said citing public opinion.

  (END)