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2009/10/29 11:17 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 78 (October 29, 2009)


N. Korea Calls for Boost in Campaign to Learn from Persons of Merits

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea recently convened a national meeting of "persons of merits" and urged people to learn from the figures to achieve the national goal of building an economically powerful nation.

   The North has been running a national campaign to follow the examples set by those boasting brilliant achievements in their field and loyalty toward the country's leader.

   The meeting, the second of its kind, was held for two days from Oct. 21 in Pyongyang to boost the campaign, according to the North's state media.

   Speaking at the meeting, Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the Workers' Party, called on all the people to "learn from the spirit of those devotedly defending the leader and the indomitable mental power displayed by the persons of merits in the era of Songun," the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   Songun refers to North Korea's "military-first" ruling philosophy that has been in place since leader Kim took power after his father and the North's founder, Kim Il-sung, died in 1994. Under the policy, Kim has resorted greatly to the military to ensure the regime's survival and rebuild its economy.

   Choe also asked for more vitality in the campaign so the whole country could be cheerful with a "new grand leap" for the construction of Kangsong Taeguk, a strong, prosperous and powerful country. Pyongyang aims to build that country by 2012, the centenary of the birth of late leader, state founder Kim Il-sung.

   In a congratulatory message to the meeting, the Central Committee of the Workers' Party expressed belief that the persons of merits and all other officials, party members and working people would "demonstrate invincible national power to the whole world in the all-out charge for opening the gate to a great prosperous and powerful nation, single-mindedly united around Kim Jong-il," the KCNA said.

   Other major Pyongyang officials present at the meeting were the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Jung-rin, Kim Ki-nam, both secretaries of the party, and Kwak Pom-gi, a deputy premier of the Cabinet.

   The previous meeting of "persons of merits" was held in October 2004.


North Korea Calls for 'Fair International Order'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on Oct. 24 the United Nations should fulfill its duty of establishing a fairer international order as required by the developments of the new century.

   "Reality requires the U.N. to play a bold, leading and vanguard role in establishing a new international order," the North's major newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an article dedicated to the Day of the U.N.

   For the past 60 years, the North claimed, the U.N. has made some decisions contrary to the purpose and principles of the U.N. Charter and international law, unjustly questioning the legitimate rights of anti-imperialist and self-reliant countries.

   It did not elaborate on the "decisions," but apparently referred to the latest U.N. resolution on sanctioning the North for its long-range rocket and nuclear tests.

   The newspaper also raised the need to "more democratically revamp" the U.N. Security Council and resettle "those issues wrongly handled in the past."


N. Korea Demands Japanese PM's Official Apology for Colonization

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has urged Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to officially apologize and compensate for Japan's past colonization of the Korean Peninsula, saying his earlier remarks in support of a 1995 apology are not sufficient.

   The weekly Tongil Sinbo, published on Oct. 24, referred to Hatoyama's recent statement that he would abide by the so-called Murayama pledge. In the pledge, then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama acknowledged that Japan inflicted tremendous damage and suffering throughout Asia and other countries during its colonial rule and aggression in the first half of the 20th century.

   "What the Korean people and all humankind want is not the repetition of noncommittal words of regret but a thorough apology and compensation for the bloody past," the Tongil Sinbo said. Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula from 1910 until 1945, when Japan surrendered to the western allied forces in World War II.

   The article cited the millions of Korean men and women forced by Japan to fight in the war, do hard labor or serve as sex slaves, as well as the massacres of civilians during the colonial era.

   "Crime cannot evade punishment. If it tries to evade its blood-soaked criminal past with a few words of regret, it is impossible for Japan to expect a bright future," the article said.

   Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang earlier this month, told South Korean and Japanese leaders that the North was hoping to improve its ties with both their countries.

   The October election of Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, ended a half-century of conservative rule in Tokyo.

   North Korea and Japan have not established diplomatic relations since Korea's liberation from Japan. South Korean established ties with its island neighbor in 1965, a contentious move at the time.

   Attempts to build Pyongyang-Tokyo relations have ended in failure due to a dispute over North Korea's abductions of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 80s and the ongoing North Korean nuclear standoff.


North Korean Leader Encourages Silk Production

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has ordered greater production of silk so that all his countrymen can have quality clothing, state media reported on Oct. 24.

   Kim made the remarks during a tour to the Huichon Silk Mill and several other industrial and educational facilities in the town of Huichon, Jagang Province, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   "The mill should provide silk fabrics works with a larger quantity of quality silk to meet the lifelong desire of President Kim Il-sung, who took much pain to ensure that all the people wear silks and live on rice and meat soup in tile-roofed houses," Kim was quoted by the KCNA as saying, referring to one of the foremost campaigns his father initiated while alive.

   Kim also visited the Youth Electric Complex, which produces various electric goods, and a newly-built library. He watched a performance by the art squad at the complex and held a photo session with its workers, the report said.

   Kim then visited the Huichon University of Technology and stressed the school should "turn out more technical personnel" to consolidate the nation's economy, it said.
"The striking changes taking place in Jagang Province are a vivid manifestation of our people's steadfast will to build a great, prosperous and powerful nation with our efforts and resources in this land at any cost," Kim said.

   Kim was accompanied by Workers' Party Secretary Kim Ki-nam, party department directors Pak Nam-gi and Jang Song-thaek, first vice department directors of the party, Ju Kyu-chang, Ri Je-gang and Ri Jae-il as well as provincial officials, the report said.

   In a separate dispatch that came hours later on Sunday, the KCNA reported on another field guidance trip by Kim. He "expressed great satisfaction" over the newly-built resort and roads at Mount Myohyang, saying they go well with the mountain's natural beauty.

   Mt. Myohyang, which stretches along Huichon and adjacent towns in the Phyongan provinces, is one of the most famous mountains in North Korea.

   Neither dispatch said when Kim made those trips, as is customary of KCNA reports.


North Korean Delegation Heads to Beijing

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean delegation led by a governing party's secretary headed to Beijing at the invitation of its Chinese counterpart, Pyongyang's state media said on Oct. 27.

   "A delegation of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea led by Choe Thae Bok, secretary of its Central Committee, left here on Oct. 27 to visit China," the (North) Korean Central News Agency reported without further elaboration.

   The international liaison department of China's Communist Party said on its Web site that Choe was visiting Beijing at the party's invitation. Choe will stay in China until Saturday, it said.

   North Korea and China are celebrating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.


Cabinet Discuss Ways to Implement '100-day Campaign'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The North Korean Cabinet has recently convened a session to discuss ways to make the ongoing "100-day campaign" into a success, state media reported on Oct. 27.

   Pyongyang launched the new economic campaign a few days after a "150-day campaign" came to a close on Sept. 16 as part of a bigger plan to establish an economically powerful country by 2012, the centenary of former leader, state founder Kim Il-sung's birth.

   The enlarged plenary session discussed how to carry out the 100-day campaign set to finish at the year end, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. It, however, did not reveal when the meeting was held.

   Also among the topics of the meeting were the result of the previous economic campaign, economic and budget plans for the third quarter, the report said. Speakers included Premier Kim Yong-il and his deputy Pak Su-gil.

   The speakers emphasized the need to make the 100-day campaign a success since the fourth quarter is significant in making this year a "great revolutionary turning point," the report said.