*** NEWS IN BRIEF
North Korea Slams U.N. Resolution on Its Human Rights
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea dismissed on Nov. 24 the latest resolution on its human rights by the United Nations as "a trite political trick" by the United States and other countries hostile against it.
The Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, which is in charge of social, humanitarian and cultural issues, adopted the resolution on North Korea's human rights abuse by 103 votes in favor and 16 against on Nov. 21, in a bid to put pressure on the socialist country.
The resolution, which will be put to a vote on the floor of the General Assembly in December, denounces the systemic, widespread violations of human rights in North Korea.
A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry was quoted by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying, "The adoption of the 'resolution' is a trite political trick employed by the U.S. and its followers hostile toward the DPRK (North Korea) every year.
"As usual, the DPRK resolutely rejects the 'resolution,' which is the height of politicization, double standard and selection of human rights, and consistent with falsity and fabrication."
Kim Jong-il Inspects KPA Command in Western N. Korea
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son heir-apparent Kim Jong-un visited a command of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) in charge of defending its western area, the North's media said on Nov. 25.
The two Kims "inspected the Command of KPA Large Combined Unit No. 233 in the western sector of the front," said the KCNA, but did not reveal the exact date when they visited there.
The command has reportedly shelled Yeonpyeong Island, a South Korean border island in the Yellow Sea on Nov. 23 last year.
Ahead of reports on the two Kims' visit to the command, the KPA Supreme Command on Nov. 24 threatened to turn South Korea's presidential office into "a sea of fire," lashing out at the military drill by the South near Yeonpyeong Island on the occasion of the first anniversary of the North's deadly shelling of the island.
During his visit to the command, the senior Kim expressed the fact that the officers and servicepersons "are fully prepared to beat back any enemy's surprise invasion in good time," the KCNA said.
The two Kims were accompanied by Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho; Jang Song-thaek, vice chairman of the National Defence Commission; and three full generals Kim Won-hon, Pak Jae-gyon and Hyon Chol-hae, among others, the North's news outlet said.
The visit by the two Kims to the command was followed by their visit to KPA Air Force Unit No. 1016, the KCNA added on Nov. 26.
N. Korean Delegation Visits Russia to Discuss Gas Project
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A North Korean delegation of a joint working group headed by Jong Chol-yun, vice minister of the Oil Industry, left Pyongyang to visit Russia, the North's media said on Nov. 26.
The North's official news agency, however, did not elaborate on the purpose of the delegation's visit to Russia.
But the delegation may discuss the natural gas pipeline project liking Russia and North Korea, given a delegation of the North Korean Ministry of Oil Industry led by its Minister Kim Hui-yong made a week-long trip to Russia from Sept. 13.
During his trip to Russia, Kim agreed on Sept. 15 with Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas producing company, to form a joint working group for the gas pipeline project.
N. Korean TV Releases Belated Documentary on Kim Jong-il
SEOUL (Yonhap)-- North Korea's official television station released belatedly on Nov. 29 a documentary that its leader Kim Jong-il and his son heir-apparent Kim Jong-un watched a joint military drill, amid its harsh rhetoric to underscore lingering tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The release of the documentary by the (North) Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station came when the North has threatened South Korea by hinting at a military attack and the two Kims made brisk visits to military units.
The 16-minute long documentary under the title of "Comrade Kim Jong-il enjoys a joint military drill of the army, navy and air forces" was aired at 5:32 p.m. via the TV station. The TV station said the military drill was carried out on Sept. 7 this year.
It is worth noting that this is the first time that the North's media has reported on the joint military, more than two months after it took place.
The documentary showed coast artillery, field artillery, the launch of missiles, the interception of fighters by missiles and navy vessel exercises.
N. Korea's State News Agency to Begin Chinese Service
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Nov. 29 that it will soon begin services in the Chinese language as part of efforts to further improve the country's relations with its largest socialist ally, China.
The KCNA said that it will "start reporting articles, photos and movies in Chinese from Dec. 1."
"It will contribute to boosting traditional friendship between the DPRK (North Korea) and China, and promoting the understanding of the DPRK by a great number of Chinese speaking population," it added.
The news agency currently provides services in English, Spanish and Korean.
N. Korea Says Production of Low Enriched Uranium 'Progressing Apace'
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on Nov. 30 it is speeding up its production of low enriched uranium for its light-water nuclear reactor, as Washington presses Pyongyang to take concrete steps toward denuclearization.
"The construction of experimental LWR and the low enriched uranium for the provision of raw materials are progressing apace," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to a light-water reactor.
The ministry did not elaborate further on details of the progress.
The announcement could dim diplomatic efforts to resume long-stalled talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs. It also comes amid renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula over South Korea's massive military maneuvers near the tense sea border.
North Korea renewed its calls for a quick resumption of the nuclear talks without preconditions, but South Korea and the U.S. insist Pyongyang must first take concrete steps to show its sincerity, such as a monitored shutdown of its uranium enrichment plant.
The aid-for-disarmament talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, were last held in Beijing in late 2008.
The North also ruled out any concession or compromise in pursuing what it terms peaceful nuclear activities, saying they are aimed at solving its acute electricity problem.
Night-time satellite photos of the Korean Peninsula show a pitch-dark North neighboring a brightly illuminated South Korea.
"The attempt to render the (North)'s peaceful nuclear activities illegal or delay them for an indefinite period will prompt resolute and decisive countermeasures," the Foreign Ministry said in the statement carried by the KCNA.
South Korea, the United States and other regional powers suspect that North Korea's uranium enrichment program is for its nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea has claimed that it was compelled to go nuclear to cope with hostile U.S. policy and its nuclear threats.
Uranium, if highly enriched, can be used to make weapons, prodiving Pyongyang with a second way of building atomic bombs after its existing plutonium-based program.
The North, which conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, revealed last year that it was running a uranium enrichment facility.
In Busan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged North Korea to take concrete steps toward denuclearization.
"The U.S. stands with our ally and we look to North Korea to take concrete steps that promote peace and stability and denuclearization," Clinton told reporters on the sidelines of a global aid conference in South Korea's second largest city.
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