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2009/06/18 10:54 KST

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

Pro-Pyongyang Daily Signals N. Korea's Power Succession

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean newspaper said on June 9 an important issue concerning the fate of the nation's revolution had been resolved in an apparent oblique reference to a power transfer.

   "One of the important issues concerning the fate of the nation's revolution was shiningly resolved, which makes this year more meaningful than ever," Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Workers' Party, said in an editorial covered by Choson Sinbo three days later.

   The lengthy editorial came after Seoul's intelligence service said Pyongyang is grooming the youngest son to succeed his ailing father, leader Kim Jong-il. But North Korea has yet to officially confirm the report.

   "A true war of will is one that succeeds generation after generation," Rodong Sinmun said.

   Choson Sinbo unusually carried the full text of the North Korean editorial, apparently to stress the importance of the article.

   Choson Sinbo is a newspaper of pro-Pyongyang Koreans in Japan but often considered Pyongyang's mouthpiece.

   Kim, who suffered a stroke last year, is said to hand down an instruction to designate Jong-un, the youngest of his three sons, as successor on his 25th birthday on Jan. 8.


North Korean Leader Inspects Military Command

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has recently paid a visit to the command of a military unit while the socialist nation is vowing to produce more nuclear weapons in response to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning its latest nuclear test, the North's state media reported on June 13.

   The report by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) came one day after the North Korean foreign ministry said the country will also start enriching uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

   "Expressing great satisfaction over the fact that the division has been prepared to creditably perform its combat duty in any circumstance by making use of training equipment manufactured by it under the slogan of Training Is Also a Battle!, he highly praised the unit's militant training spirit and set forth the tasks for increasing its combat ability in every way," the KCNA report said of Kim's visit to the command of the 7th Infantry Division of the People's Army.

   The report did not state when the inspection was made.

   One day later, the KCNA said Kim Jong-il watched an opera with his only sister and senior Workers' Party officials, continuing with routine activities amid sharpening confrontation with the United States.

   Kim watched the opera "The Dream of the Red Chamber" at the Hamhung Grand Theater, staged by the Phibada (Sea of Blood) Opera Troupe, the KCNA said. The opera, a remake of the Chinese classic of the same title, was staged to mark the "year of DPRK-China friendship," the report said.

   The opera troupe "fully demonstrated once again its capability as an able and prestigious art troupe," Kim was quoted as saying.

   Kim was accompanied by his only sister and Workers' Party department director Kim Kyong-hui, and other party officials and military generals. The sister's increasing appearances from this month has raised speculation that she may be playing a role in an alleged ongoing transfer of power in the country. Her husband, Jang Song-thaek, is believed to be acting as a regent for the leader's third and youngest son, Jong-un, reportedly tapped as Kim's successor.


North Korea Calls Itself 'Eastern Outpost of Socialism'

SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea claimed on June 14 it has served as an "eastern outpost of socialism" since the collapse of socialist bloc countries.

   North Korea and East Germany dubbed themselves "eastern" and "western" outposts of socialism in the Cold War era, but the description has rarely been used by the North in the recent decades.

   The description also is reminiscent of the term "outpost of tyranny," which the former U.S. government led by President George W. Bush used to call North Korea, along with Belarus, Myanmar, Cuba, Iran and Zimbabwe.

   "The DPRK (North Korea), which has firmly kept the eastern outpost of socialism dominating all kinds of despotism by the united forces of the imperialists, is becoming an object of respect for all peace-loving people around the world," Rodong Sinmun said.

   The newspaper of the Workers' Party then attributed the North's "miraculous" survival in the "worst hardship" to leader Kim Jong-il's Songun (military-first) policy of giving military the top priority.