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2009/10/01 11:15 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 74 (October 1, 2009)

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea Replaces Head of Academy of Sciences

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Jang Chol, a little-known North Korean official, has been named the head of the country's National Academy of Sciences (NAS), replacing Byon Yong-rip, according to the North's official media monitored in Seoul on Sept. 26.

   The appointment of Jang as the North's NAS head was confirmed in an editorial written by himself and carried by Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers' Party.

   The editorial was also carried by the government's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri. The newspaper did not elaborate on the details of Jang's career.

   Meanwhile, North Korea appointed Jong Yon-gwa, former deputy director of the Workers' Party Central Committee, as minister of the Foodstuff and Daily Necessities Industry (FDNI).

   The appointment was confirmed in a report carried by the North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station on Sept. 23. In it Jong, who attended a meeting held in the city of Sinuiju, was referred to as FDNI minister.
The ministry had been created in July to handle food-related affairs. The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly issued a decree to set up the FDNI Ministry, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said on July 22 in a one-line report.


N.K. Newspaper Says Collapse of Socialism Will Make Senior Officials Jobless

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean newspaper warned of the dangers of the collapse of socialism on Sept. 27, saying many key officials who were at the center of power ended up jobless after their countries gave up socialism.

   Minju Choson, newspaper of the Cabinet, said the "miserable fate" of some of the former socialist countries well shows what kind of grave consequences will be caused if a country weakens or gives up its anti-imperialist class struggle.

   In some socialist countries that introduced capitalism, officials who were formerly working at important posts of the party and government were kicked out of their workplaces and ended up jobless, the daily said.

   "Heroes, war veterans and merited people had no choice but to sell their decorations and medals earned with their blood and sweat for food," it said, underlining the need to hold fast to the socialist system.

   It also cautioned against having any illusion on the Western world, saying, "Offer of aid and cooperation loudmouthed by imperialists is no more than a deceptive signboard to strengthen dominance and plunder of developing countries."


Kim Jong-il Meets Non-commissioned Officers Participating in National Meeting

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il recently met with participants in a national meeting of active non-commissioned military officers, state media reported on Sept. 29.

   Kim wished the participants success in the meeting and held a photo session with them, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   The KCNA said the meeting was under way in Pyongyang but did not mention when Kim met the officers. None of North Korea's state media has given details of the meeting.

   Kim highly gave the officers high praise, calling them "true patriots who are think of the interests of the country and the revolution before the comfort of themselves and their families," according to the KCNA report.

   They were also praised for rendering "great services for increasing (North Korea's) combat capability with their high-level technical skills and abilities," the KCNA said.

   Among those accompanying the North Korean leader were Kim Yong-chun, Vice Marshal; Kim Jong-gak, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission; Ri Yong-ho, first-vice director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army; and Kim Won-hong, chief of the army General Staff.

   On the same day, the KCNA said Kim Jong-il inspected light industrial facilities in Pyongyang. They included the newly-built Taedong River Foodstuff Factory and the Pyongyang Textile Machine Plant, the report said.

   While visiting the foodstuff factory, Kim stresed the need for an increase in the production of quality foodstuffs to improve the diet of the people, the North said.

   In the textile machine plant, Kim "expressed his great satisfaction over the fact that the workers of the plant have made excellent looms as required by the IT era," it said.

   Kim was accompanied by Secretary Kim Ki-nam, and Department Directors Kim Kyong-hui and Pak Nam-gi of the Workers' Party Central Committee, the report added.


North Korea Sets Up Ship Control Center to Join IMO's Efforts

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has set up a control center for ships to carry out the International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s system for identifying and tracking ships sailing from far away, a Pyongyang newspaper claimed on Sept. 29.

   "Various endeavors are being made to ensure maritime safety and prevent sea pollution, etc. under the care of the (Workers') Party and the government of the DPRK (North Korea) where such popular policies with regard to peoples' lives are enforced," Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Workers' Party, said. North Korea joined the IMO in April 1986.

   "In connection with the IMO's enforcement of the system for identifying and tracking ships sailing from far away, from July 1, the DPRK set up a control center for ships and put it into operation," the daily said in an article carried by the official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 29.

   The IMO established the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system as an international system in May 2006. Under the system, ships sailing in the international waters must automatically report their position to control centers operated by their flag administration at least four times a day so they can be protected from any terrorism or piracy attacks. Other governments may request information about vessels in which they have a legitimate interest under the regulation that binds all governments which have contracted to the IMO.

   In order to operate the LRIT, a country must set up a control center, a system for receiving information from ships and conduct a test with two countries authorized by the IMO, according to an official at Seoul's Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.

   "North Korea does not seem to be operating the system because it has yet to conduct such a test and is not transforming any information on its vessels to other countries," the official as requesting anonymity.

   In the article published to observe the International Maritime Day, Rodong Sinmun also said North Korea acceded to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 2001, "prompted by the desire to protect the sea environment."


N. Korean Leader Congratulates Hu on China's Founding Anniversary

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Sept. 30 congratulated Chinese President Hu Jintao on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country and vowed to solidify relations between the two allies, state media said.

   In a letter to Hu, he called the allies' friendship "a valuable asset" and said his country will continue to "consolidate and develop it generation after generation."

   Kim praised the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1 in 1949 as "an event that brought about a fundamental change" in Chinese history.

   "Today the Chinese people are registering big successes in their efforts to build a harmonious socialist society," he said, adding the North Korean people are "rejoiced over these as over their own."

   The message was jointly signed by senior leaders Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Premier Kim Yong-il, and then sent to their respective Chinese counterparts, Wu Bangguo and Wen Jiabao.

   Wen is set to visit Pyongyang from Oct. 4-6 to attend the closing ceremony of the "friendship year" marking the 60th anniversary of the two nations' diplomatic relations. The Chinese premier is expected to meet with the North Korean leader and discuss ways of resuscitating negotiations aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.

   China's foreign ministry indicated Tuesday that its government would provide new assistance to the North on the occasion of Wen's trip. The two nations will also sign several deals ranging from economy and trade to education and tourism during the visit, it said.

   North Korea normalized ties with China on Oct. 6, 1949, just days after the Chinese government was founded, one of the first countries to do so.