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2009/03/12 10:58 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 45 (March 12, 2009)


SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The following is a chronological review of major developments related to North Korea from March 5-11.

5 Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), meets with Australian ambassador Peter Jason Rowe, who paid a farewell visit to him at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.

   5 Thomas Schafer, German ambassador to Pyongyang, hosts a reception at his embassy to mark the 8th year of diplomatic ties between Germany and North Korea, attended by Kung Sok-ung, vice minister of Foreign Affairs.

   5 Kim Yong-nam receives credentials from Magdalene Teo, ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to North Korea, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall.

   5 Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun confers with the new Brunei ambassador to Pyongyang Magdalene Teo.

   5 The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland says the North will not guarantee the safety of South Korean passenger planes flying over its eastern waters as long as the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise remains effective.

   6 The U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) and North Korea hold their 16th general-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom. The North reiterated its earlier threats that it cannot ensure the safety of South Korean civilian planes flying near its sky over the East Sea if the U.S. and South Korea go ahead with the planned joint military drills.

   7 The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) says Pak Hyon-suk who won a gold in women's 63kg weightlifting of last year's Beijing Olympics was selected by the International Weightlifting Federation as one of the best ten female athletes for 2008.

   7 Minju Joson, the publication of the North Korean Cabinet, blasted South Korea for describing North Korea as an "immediate and grave threat" in its new defense white paper, rebutting that South Korea's joint drills with the United States threaten peace.

   7 A national meeting is held at the People's Palace of Culture to mark the 99th International Women's Day, attended by Yang Hyong-sop, vice president of the SPA Presidium, and Kim Jung-rin, secretary of the Workers' Party, among others.

   7 Kim Yong-nam sends a message of greetings to Bashar Al-Assad, president of Syria, on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the March 8 revolution in Syria.

   7 North Korean leader Kim Jong-il sends a message of greetings to the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the March 8 revolution in Syria.

   7-10 Stephen Bosworth, the new U.S. point man on North Korea, visits South Korea in the last leg of his first Asian tour since being assigned to the post.

   8 A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry in an interview with the KCNA condemns the International Criminal Court's issuance of an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president on the suspicion of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in the area of Darfur in Sudan is a "super-state act to lord it over sovereign states and freely interfere in their internal affairs in disregard of their sovereignty."

   8 Kim Jong-il inspected Kimilsung Political University in Pyongyang and participated in the election of the deputy to the SPA together with servicepersons.

   8 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il watched an art performance given by the State Merited Chorus together with servicepersons in connection with the opening of the Pulgunbyol Theatre, a building which has been constructed by rebuilding an annex to the Ponghwa Art Theatre in Pyongyang.

   8 The North's Central Election Committee announces the list of 686 persons, including leader Kim Jong-il, elected as deputies to the 12th Supreme People's Assembly.

   9 The KCNA says Kim Yong-nam on March 3 sent a message of greetings to John Evans Atta Mills, president of Ghana, on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of its independence.

   9 A spokesman for the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) General Staff issues a statement to announce that the army will cut off military communications, the last channel which has existed between the two Koreas, for the duration of the "Key Resolve" joint war drills between the United States and South Korea, in protest at the drills. South Korea and the United States begin the 12-day Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise which mobilizes over 25,000 U.S. troops, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers.

   9 The KPA Supreme Command issues an order to all servicepersons to be "fully combat ready and follow every move of the aggressors with vigilance in view of the grave situation prevailing in the country and deal merciless retaliatory blows at them, should they intrude into the sky and land and seas of the DPRK (North Korea) even an inch."

   9 Radio Pyongyang says Kwon Sung-chol, newly appointed ambassador to Guyana, presented his credentials to the country's president Bharrat Jagdeo on Feb. 26.

   9 Premier Kim Yong-il sends a message of greetings to the prime minister of Mauritius, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, to mark the 41st anniversary of the country's independence and the 17th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Mauritius.

   10 The KCNA says Premier Kim Yong-il will soon pay an official goodwill visit to China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

   10 Seoul's Unification Ministry says the North informed South Korean managers of the joint industrial complex in Kaesong that it will again allow border crossings by South Koreans, one day after shunning traffic in protest at the South Korea-U.S. joint military drills.

   10 The March 8 parliamentary election where 99.98 percent of voters showed up and voted 100 percent in favor of candidates representing the Workers' Party was a show of the entire people's absolute support and confidence in the North Korean regime led by leader Kim Jong-il, the Rodong Sinmun reports.

   10 A photo exhibition opens with due ceremony at the Hamhung Grand Theatre to commemorate the establishment of diplomatic ties between North Korea and Germany.

   11 North Korea's foreign ministry spokesman tells the KCNA that Pyongyang will take "every necessary measure" to defend its sovereignty amid an ongoing South Korea-U.S. military drill.

   11 South Korea and Russia's chief negotiators to the six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs meet in Seoul to discuss ways to move the negotiations forward.