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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 111 (June 17, 2010)

North Korea Expands Kimilsung University Absorbing Local Colleges

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has recently expanded Kimilsung University by absorbing a number of local colleges in an apparent effort to set up a new-type university.

   Choson Sinbo, a newspaper published by the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, said on June 11 that three medical and agricultural colleges of the country became affiliated with Kimilsung University in May.

   The university also added the college of finance in April, the fourth one to be established following the colleges of literature, law and computer science, the newspaper said.

   With the total of seven individual schools in the university, it is the biggest in the country in terms of the number of colleges possessed.

   Students from the three domestic colleges will share the same badge and follow the university's existing academic program, the newspaper said.

   "Specialized courses that require professional knowledge such as medicine and agricultural studies will be taught by the newly affiliated colleges, while other basic subjects will follow the current Kimilsung University's curriculum," a North Korean educational official told the newspaper.

   Kimilsung University, established in 1946 and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's alma mater, covers all fields of studies apart from most natural science and engineering majors. Its first and only engineering major, the college of computer science, was founded in 1999.


North Korean Media Report on S. Korea's Botched Rocket Launch

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official news agency briefly reported on South Korea's second failed rocket launch on June 11, quoting major broadcasting stations in Seoul.

   North Korea came short of accusing South Korea of having double standards in August last year, when Seoul made its first attempt to launch a rocket. The socialist state had drawn condemnation from South Korea and the United States when it fired its long-range rocket four months earlier. Pyongyang claimed it floated a satellite, while Seoul and Washington said it was a test of ballistic missile technology.

   "The satellite launch in the South ended in a failure" on June 10, according to two television stations, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a three-paragraph report.

   "It is said that this is the second time that a satellite launch has failed in the South," it said.

   The Naro-1 rocket, which was built jointly with Russia, blasted off from the Naro Space Center on the South's south coast, but communication was lost shortly afterward.


North Korea Threatens to Destroy South Korean Loudspeakers

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's military threatened on June 12 that it will destroy South Korean propaganda loudspeakers along its border and may even turn Seoul into a "sea of flame," in the strongest warning yet against Seoul's plan to resume anti-Pyongyang broadcasts.

   South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, however, "no unusual activity" has currently been spotted from North Korea along the military demarcation line.

   South Korea completed the installation of propaganda loudspeakers in 11 places along the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone earlier this week in retaliation to the March 26 sinking of one of the South's military warships, for which Seoul blames Pyongyang. The North denies involvement.

   North Korean armed forces "will launch an all-out military strike to blow up the group's means for the psychological warfare against the DPRK (North Korea) in all areas along the front," the General Staff of the (North) Korean People's Army said in a "crucial declaration" carried in the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

   North Korea has already warned it will shoot down loudspeakers if the broadcasts resume, but it's the first time to employ the "sea of flame" warning since 1994.

   The North's military did not specify when it will put its threats into action.

   Seoul has yet to begin the anti-North Korea broadcasts. Officials said the broadcasts will begin after the U.N. Security Council carries out its action over the ship sinking. The psychological warfare was stopped in a 2004 inter-Korean agreement amid thawing ties.

   "From a military point of view that a psychological warfare is one of the basic operational forms for carrying out a war, the installing of such means for the above-said warfare is a direct declaration of a war against the DPRK," the General Staff said.

   "It should bear in mind that the military retaliation of the DPRK is a merciless strike foreseeing even the turn of Seoul, the stronghold of the group of traitors, into a sea of flame," it warned.

   In an inter-Korean meeting in 1994, a North Korean delegation chief warned that Seoul, just 50 km south of the border, may turn into the "sea of flames" if a war breaks out. Security fears heightened in South Korea, and the following year it referred to the North as its "main enemy" for the first time in its defense white papers.


South Korean Pastor Arrives in North Korea on Unauthorized Trip

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A South Korean pastor arrived in North Korea on June 12 to attend a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of a historic inter-Korean summit, the North's media said, a trip unauthorized by Seoul.

   The reverend, Han Sang-ryeol, apparently flew into Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, by way of Beijing.

   The South Korean was greeted by members of North Korea's Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration, including committee chairman An Kyong-ho, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, referring to a joint statement leaders of the two Koreas issued after a 2000 summit.

   Han and many other South Korean activists had requested government permission for a trip to Pyongyang for an annual joint ceremony commemorating the first-ever summit, but Seoul refused to give clearance after an international probe concluded that the communist nation torpedoed a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors.

   Under national security law, all South Koreans need government permission for a trip to North Korea.

   "If Rev. Han is in Pyongyang as reported by North Korea, the trip is a clear violation of the law because the ministry never authorized his visit," an official from Seoul's unification ministry said, asking not to be identified.

   Han will likely face punishment when he returns home, the official said.


Defending June 15 Declaration Only Way to Avert War: Yang Hyong-sop

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed on June 14 that defending and implementing the inter-Korean joint declaration of June 15, 2000 is the only way of avoiding an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula.

   "The situation on the Korean Peninsula is so tense that an accidental single gun shot may trigger off an all-out war," Yang Hyong-Sop, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, asserted in a report at a meeting held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the inter-Korean joint declaration in Pyongyang.

   "Defending the inter-Korean joint declaration and thoroughly implementing it is the only way of settling the grave situation created due to the reckless moves of the anti-reunification forces to provoke a war," Yang was quoted as saying by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   "The puppet conservative group (in the south) would be well advised to stop behaving recklessly, mindful that it will face a merciless punishment by the DPRK (North Korea) and have to pay a dear price if it shows any slightest move for 'punishment' and 'retaliation' in league with foreign forces," he said, adding that "U.S. and Japanese reactionaries should stop at once all the hostile acts against the DPRK."

   Yang referred to international efforts to sanction North Korea for its torpedo attack on a South Korean Naval ship in March that killed 46 sailors. North Korea has been denying its involvement in the sinking and threatened Friday an "all-out war" if it is punished or sanctioned.