NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 58 (June 11, 2009) |
*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)
Propaganda Workers Rally to Renew Resolution on Mt. Paektu
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Propaganda workers of the North Korean communist party on June 4 held a rally on Mt. Paektu, resolving to be absolutely loyal to leader Kim Jong-il and fulfill their duty of politically indoctrinating the people with the socialist ideology, state media said the following day.
The meeting came amid South Korean news reports that Kim Jong-il's third son, 26-year-old Jong-un, was designated as his successor.
"Party information workers from across the country held a meeting to renew their resolution on the top of the Mount Paektu," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The workers were on a tour of "revolutionary battle sites" near the mountain, including the spot where late North Korean leader and founder Kim Il-sung's guerrilla troops fought against the Japanese army for Korean independence, the agency said. Korea was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.
During the rally, the report said, the participants resolved to safeguard leader Kim Jong-il even at the cost of their life and increase their role to help party members and workers deeply understand the "immortal revolutionary history" behind the Kim family and encourage them be faithful to the government.
They also discussed ways to "shatter" the infiltration of enemy ideologies and culture, and to draw more participation in a nationwide economic campaign, the KCNA said.
N. Korea Establishing Long-term Environmental Plan: Report
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea will release a long-term environmental policy plan for the first time by next year, the publication of a pro-Pyongyang Korean group in Japan said on June 4.
The plan would "cohesively combine economic development and environmental protection programs," Choson Sinbo newspaper said, quoting a North Korean state think tank on environmental protection.
The research institute has already developed an environmental impact assessment method and technology ahead of establishing the plan, the daily said. Based on the assessment method, the institute will conduct a comprehensive environmental survey, said the report.
The survey, it said, will be used to set up a long-term strategy and plan for environmental protection correlated to ongoing economic development and urban reconstruction plans.
Primary concern will be how to improve and protect the environment of capital Pyongyang and other major cities and industrial complexes according to the newspaper, considered a mouthpiece for Pyongyang.
"It would be the first environmental strategy and plan ever to be set up in DPRK (North Korea)," Jong Chang-geun, a deputy head of the North Korean research institute, was quoted as saying by the daily.
"The plan will be reflected rightly in future state programs for economic development and carried out in all fields of the country," he said.
N. Korean Leader Watches Art Show by Soldiers' Wives
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il viewed a musical performance put on by the wives of (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers, state media said on June 3.
Kim enjoyed the performance by families of KPA Units 264 and 604 servicemen and said they are "proud women revolutionaries who dedicate their all to adding shine to the socialist system in the DPRK (North Korea)," according to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The show staged the chorus "People Sing of April Holiday," as well as the short drama "Far away over Clouds," and the poem "We Will Live in the Spirit of Mt. Paektu" among others, it said.
Kim, 67, was accompanied by KPA generals Kim Jong-gak, Kim Won-hong and Hyon Chol-hae, Col. general Han Tong-kun, Workers' Party Secretary Kim Ki-nam and the party's department directors, Jang Song-thaek and Pak Nam-gi, the report said. Jang, Kim's brother-in-law, is married to the leader's only sister Kim Kyong-hui.
Earlier, the KCNA said on June 1 Kim watched a similar show by family members of servicemen under Unit 529 and the Navy Command of the KPA.
The KCNA also said on June 5 Kim Jong-il watched together with KPA servicepersons a performance given by the art groups of families of servicemen of KPA Unit 583 and Unit 3154 of the (North) Korean People's Security Forces, and provided field guidance to industrial establishments in Tanchon, South Hamgyong Province.
And also, one day later, the KCNA reported Kim Jong-il provided field guidance to the Tongbong Cooperative Farm in Hamju County, South Hamgyong Province.
N. Korea Makes Efforts to Cope with Climate Change
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean newspaper said on June 5 all countries must address the serious problem of climate change through concerted efforts as it marked the World Environment Day.
"Climate change resulting from global warming is one of the biggest problems facing all the countries in the world at present," Rodong Sinmun said. "The DPRK (North Korea) is briskly conducting a variety of projects to cope with climate change and protect the environment under the state and social care." DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
Great progress will be made in this field when all countries in the world unite and make concerted efforts to cope with climate change and protect the global environment, said the newspaper of the Workers' Party.
North Korea joined the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming in April 2005.
N. Korean Leader Accompanied by Sister During Public Tour
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was accompanied by his only sister during his latest tour to a music school, the North's state media said on June 7, reporting on her first such media appearance.
Kim Kyong-hui, a department director in the Workers' Party, was last seen in a still photo of a parliamentary meeting in 2003. Although she has been photographed at general events -- such as her father and North Korean founder Kim Il-sung's funeral in 1994 and parliamentary photo sessions -- Kim Jong-il's sister has never been seen on a public tour along with her brother.
Kim Kyong-hui is married to Jang Song-thaek, who is believed to have risen as the country's No. 2 figure since leader Kim Jong-il reportedly fell ill last summer.
Kim Jong-il "gave guidance" for the production of the Russian opera "Evgeni Onegin" at the Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory, the report said. He was accompanied by Workers' Party "Secretary Kim Ki-nam and department directors Kim Kyong-hui, Jang Song-thaek and Choe Ik-gyu," it said.
The sister's appearance raised speculation about an allegedly ongoing power transfer process in the North. Her husband is believed to play a regent's role in grooming the leader's third and youngest son, Jong-un, as his successor.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers last week that Jong-un appears to have been tapped as the heir.
Meanwhile, the KCNA on the same day said Kim Jong-il inspected Kosan Fruit Farm in Kosan, Kangwon Province.
Nyongwon Power Station Completed after 13 Years of Construction
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A new hydroelectric power station was completed after 13 years of construction in North Korea, state media said on June 9.
A ceremony was held at the Nyongwon Power Station to mark its completion the same day, attended by ranking party and government officials.
The power station is located in the upper part of the Taedong River that flows through Pyongyang and into the Yellow Sea.
"Its completion made it possible to increase the electricity production by use of water resources rich in the Taedong River so as to make a great contribution to developing the nation's economy and improving the standard of the people's living and ensure a safer protection of Pyongyang from any heavy flood," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The report did not give the station's generating capacity but experts estimate it can produce about 135,000 kW.
The Central Committee of the Workers' Party said in a congratulatory letter that the completion of the power station is an event "as significant as the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite."
North Korea claimed in April that it sent a satellite called the Kwangmyongsong-2 into orbit, though its neighbors believe the rocket launch was a test of a ballistic missile. Pyongyang is said to now be preparing to test medium-range missiles and a long-range Taepodong-2.
The letter praised those who built the power station as "heroes and patriots who showed in practice how devotedly one should uphold and protect the illustrious leaders."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il made an on-site guidance tour to the power station, which was at the final stage of construction in April.
Attending the completion ceremony were Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the Workers' Party, Kwak Pom-gi, vice premier of the Cabinet, and construction workers from South Pyongan Province, according to the KCNA report.