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2009/04/23 11:19 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 51 (April 23, 2009)


SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The following is a chronological review of major developments related to North Korea between April 16-22.

16 Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), sends a message of greetings to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad marking the 63rd anniversary of its independence.

   16 Premier Kim Yong-il sends a message of greetings to Muhammad Nazi Otri, prime minister of Syria, to mark the country's 63rd year of independence.

   16 Kim Jong-il sends message of greetings to Bashar Al-Assad, regional secretary of Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party and president of Syria, on the country's independence anniversary.

   16 The North Korean government hosts a reception at Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang honoring delegates studying the Juche (self-reliance) idea -- North Korea's guiding philosophy -- and marking late leader Kim Il-sung's 97th birthday. The event is attended by Yang Hyong-sop, vice president of the SPA Presidium.

   17 Kim Yong-nam sends a message of greetings to Zimbabwean President Robert G. Mugabe, marking the country's 29th founding anniversary.

   17 Kim Yong-nam meets with the delegation of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, headed by its vice-chairman, Li Jinhua, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.

   17 Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the Workers' Party, accuses the South Korean government of disallowing members of civilian aid groups to visit North Korea for safety reasons after the North's April 5 rocket launch.

   17 The North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station says Russian President D. Medvedev sent a message on April 10 to Kim Jong-il to congratulate him on his reelection as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

   17 Asghar Rezaeipour, military attache of the Iranian embassy in Pyongyang, arranges a reception at the Taedong Rover Diplomatic Corps Club in Pyongyang to mark the Day of the Iranian Army, attended by Pak Jae-gyong, vice minister of the People's Armed Forces.

   17 Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun sends a congratulatory message to Mariano Fernandez Amunategui upon his appointment as foreign minister of Chile.

   18 A spokesman for the General Staff of the North's Korean People's Army (KPA) tells the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that South Korea's full participation in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would be "a declaration of war" against North Korea.

   18 The 26th April Spring Friendship Art Festival that opened in Pyongyang on April 10 to mark the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung closes with due ceremony at the Pyongyang Grand Theater, attended by Yang Hyong-sop, Ro Tu-chol, vice premier of the Cabinet, and Kang Nung-su, minister of Culture and chairman of the organizing committee of the festival.

   18 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected the newly built Nyongwon Power Station.

   20 Mass rallies are held in the cities of Kim Chaek and Rason, along with other cities and counties across the nation, to hail the North's April 5 rocket launch.

   20 Korean Art troupes from China and the U.S. leave Pyongyang after attending the 26th April Spring Friendship Art Festival.

   20 Yang Hyong-sop meets with Ismail Ahmed Mohamed Hasan, new Palestinian ambassador to North Korea, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall.

   20 The 11th Kimilsungia Festival closes with due ceremony at the Kimilsungia-Kimjongilia Exhibition, where more than 20,000 potted Kimilsungias, a type of orchid named after the late founder, were on display to mark his birthday.

   21 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il watched a performance given by the art squad of KPA Unit 10215.

   21 South and North Korean officials meet at the Kaesong industrial complex for their first talks in more than a year. During the 22-minute exchange, the North said it plans to scrap benefits for South Korean firms operating at the complex and demanded higher wages for its workers there, according to South Korean officials.

   21 Charge d' Affaires a.i. of Syria in Pyongyang Salah Soukkar arranges a reception at the Taedong River Diplomatic Corps Club to mark the centennial anniversary of late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung's birth and Syria's independence day, attended by SPA Chairman Choe Thae-bok and Ri Ryong-nam, minister of foreign trade and chairman of the North Korea-Syria Friendship Association.

   21 Morteza Moradian, Iranian ambassador to Pyongyang, gives a reception at his embassy to mark the centennial anniversary of Kim Il-sung's birth and his son Kim Jong-il's reelection as NDC chairman, attended by Yang Hyong-sop and Labor Minister Jong Yong-su.

   22 Kim Yong-nam receives credentials from Bulgarian Ambassador to Pyongyang Georgi Peychinov at Mansudae Assembly Hall.

   22 The 24th national science and technology festival opens with due ceremony for a six-day run in Pyongyang showcasing valuable achievements made in the development of science and technology, boosting the nation's industrial and agricultural sectors.

   22 The KCNA says the North Korean Cabinet held a plenary session to discuss ways to implement national economic policy goals during the second quarter of this year.

   22 The KCNA accuses the South Korean military of arbitrarily moving a military demarcation line marker in a "serious military provocation" that violates the Korean War armistice.