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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 209 (May 10, 2012)
*** NEWS IN BRIEF

N. Korea Completes Trade Port for Underground Resources Export

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea completed the construction of a trade port on the east coast, marking the 100th birth anniversary of the country's founder, the North's state-run newspaper said on May 3.

   The Danchon Port, located in South Hamgyong Province, has a pier that can berth up to three ships with cargo capacities of 10,000 to 30,000 tons, according to the North's ruling Workers' Party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun.

   "The completion of the modern harbor with a capacity to handle millions of tons of cargo will help to boost the nation's overseas trade and improve the people's living standard," the newspaper said.

   The trade port also has a conveyor-belt system connecting the port to the Danchon Magnesite Factory and a smelting factory, which will be used for exporting mined resources, the newspaper said.

   Indicating the importance of completing the Danchon Port, high-ranking officials, including Premier Choe Yong-rim and Land and Marine Transport Minister Kang Jong-gwan, attended a dedication ceremony for the facility, according to the newspaper.

   The Danchon region is well known for its mines with magnesite and zinc deposits that have shown to be of high quality in initial tests.

   Former leader Kim Jong-il, who initiated the port construction in 2009, visited the construction site in December 2010 to give orders to finish the facility in time for the centenary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-sung, which fell on April 15.

  
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North Korean Leader Visits Air Force Unit Amid Tensions

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited the air force unit that shot down a U.S. spy plane in 1969, Pyongyang's official news agency reported on May 4.

   Kim frequently inspects military units, but his latest trip to the Air and Anti-air Force Command comes amid speculation that the socialist country may carry out a nuclear test to try to compensate for last month's botched rocket launch.

   It also occurred more than a week after North Korea threatened to launch special military actions to reduce Seoul to ashes in minutes over South Korea's alleged insult to the North's dignity.

   "The air force has a very important role to play in firmly defending the socialist country from the encroachment of the enemy," Kim said, according to an English-language dispatch of the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   Kim, who took over the country following the December death of his father, long-time leader Kim Jong-il, also "set forth the important tasks which would serve as guidelines for bolstering up the air and anti-air forces of the country," the dispatch said, without elaborating.

   The new leader has also "highly estimated the achievements" of the command's personnel. In 1969, the air force unit shot down EC-121, a U.S. navy reconnaissance plane over international waters off the North's east coast, killing all 31 Americans on board.

   The incident occurred one year after the North seized a U.S. spy ship, Pueblo.

   In April, Kim inspected the navy unit that captured the Pueblo and ordered his troops to bury the nation's enemies at sea if they "dare intrude into the territorial waters" of the North.

   U.S. President Barack Obama said during his trip to Seoul in March that Washington has no hostile intent toward North Korea.

   Still, North Korea frequently accuses the United States of harboring a hostile policy toward Pyongyang and plotting with South Korea to invade the North.

   Kim has made frequent trips to military units in an apparent attempt to bolster his support from the military, a key backbone of his rule.

  
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N. Korea Vows to Push forward with Nuclear, Rocket Programs

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea vowed on May 6 to continue to push strongly forward with its nuclear and rocket programs, rejecting an appeal from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members that Pyongyang refrain from any acts escalating tensions.

   The council members -- the United States, Britain, China, Russia and France -- issued the joint statement during a nuclear meeting in Vienna last week, urging Pyongyang to "refrain from further actions which may cause grave security concerns in the region, including any nuclear tests."

   They also expressed "serious concern" over the North's rocket launch in mid-April.

   On May 6, the North's Foreign Ministry rejected the statement as "a grave illegal action of violating the sovereignty of the DPRK and its right to use space and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, pursuant to the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea)."

   The ministry also said that the five council members have conducted more nuclear tests and stockpiled more nukes than other countries in the world.

   "The DPRK, depending on its nuclear deterrence for self-defense, will firmly protect its sovereignty and dynamically push forward the development of space for peaceful purposes and the industry of nuclear energy and proudly build a thriving nation where its people will fully enjoy prosperity under socialism," it said.

   North Korea has long used the term, "nuclear deterrent," to refer to its nuclear arsenal.

   Pyongyang claims its long-range rocket launch was an attempt to put a satellite into orbit, but the liftoff, though a failure, was widely condemned as an attempt to test its ballistic missile technology.

   The U.N. Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the launch last month.

   After the North's failed rocket launch on April 13, concerns have grown that the socialist regime could stage additional provocations. Experts have talked of the possibility of a nuclear test, which will be the North's third, as well as more missile tests and border clashes.

  
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North Korea's No. 2 Leader to Visit Indonesia, Singapore

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam will visit Indonesia soon as part of a two-nation trip that will also take him to Singapore, Pyongyang's official news agency reported on May 6.

   Kim will make the "official goodwill" trip to Indonesia at the invitation of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the KCNA said in a brief dispatch.

   Kim also plans to visit Singapore, KCNA said without providing further details.

   Kim, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp parliament, is considered second in line to the North's new leader Kim Jong-un who took over the socialist state after his father Kim Jong-il died of heart attack in December.

   Though they share the same surname, Kim Yong-nam is unrelated to the leader's family.

  
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N. Korean Leader Lambastes Park Officials for Poor oversight

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lashed out at officials of an amusement park for neglecting to take proper care of the facility's grounds and rides, the North's state media said on May 9 in an apparent move to highlight the leader's concern for his people.

   North Korean media, including the KCNA, said Kim inspected the Mangyongdae Funfair in Pyongyang and scolded officials there after discovering flaws throughout the park.

   It is the first time the North Korean media have reported a public censure by the new leader. Reports on similar activities by Kim's father and late leader Kim Jong-il were also rare.

   According to the news reports, Kim Jong-un noticed a damaged path in front of a Viking ride and called it "pathetic," while also pointing out flaws in the park's gardens and a roller coaster, the condition of paint on rides and the safety of a water park.

   He also picked grass from a crack in the pavement, saying "I had no idea the park could be so pitiful," the reports said.

   Kim pledged to remind government officials of the need to serve the people and instructed Choe Ryong-hae, a vice marshal of the People's Army, to transform the park in line with the demands of the times, they said.

  
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N. Korea's No. 2 Leader Meets with Ex-Chinese Foreign Minister

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam met with a former Chinese foreign minister on May 8, the North's official news agency said, days after it was reported the North's new leader Kim Jong-un is seeking to visit Beijing later this year.

   Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, held talks with Li Zhaoxing, who was in the North as head of a Chinese delegation of the Association for International Friendly Contact, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, the KCNA reported.

   In the talks, Li "expressed his will to strive to boost the friendly ties between the two countries," the KCNA added. But
the news agency did not further elaborate on details of the talks.

   Li's visit to Pyongyang took place just days after a Japanese newspaper reported the North's young leader wants to visit Beijing later this year.

   Japan's Nihon Keizai said on May 6 that Kim Yong-il, who is in charge of international relations at the North's ruling Workers' Party, visited Beijing in late April to convey to Chinese President Hu Jintao Kim Jong-un's plan to visit the Chinese capital.

   North Korea watchers interpret the Kim-Li meeting as the resumption of high-level talks between the two countries and have paid attention to the talks in light of instability on the Korean Peninsula after the North's recent failed rocket launch.

  
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N. Korean Leader Kim Jong-un's Work on Land Management Published

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has reported its leader Kim Jong-un's latest talks with leading officials of party and state organizations, in which he called on them to manage the country's land with ardent loyalty to the party and warm patriotism to the country.

   The KCNA reported the North Korean leader and the leading members met April 27 under the theme, "On Effecting a Drastic Turn in Land Management to Meet the Requirements for Building a Thriving Socialist Nation."

   Describing the talks as Kim's second "hard work," the KCNA reported May 8 that Kim's instructions were delivered to participants in a meeting of activists of the general mobilization movement for land management. The meeting took place at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang.

   Kim stressed the need to make the land management movement an "important occasion for preserving and glorifying leader Kim Jong-il's idea of land management and undying leadership feats and effecting a drastic turn in the land management to meet the requirements for building a thriving socialist nation."

   The first of Kim's "hard work" talks took place on April 6 and was reported by the North's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, on April 19.

   In last month's talks with party officials, Kim Jong-un vowed to uphold the instructions of his late father Kim Jong-il and praised the military's devotion. The title of that talk was "Let Us Hold Great Comrade Kim Jong-il in High Esteem as General Secretary of Our Party Forever and Successfully Accomplish the Revolutionary Cause of Juche (self-reliance)."

   Land management is a patriotic work for the eternal prosperity of the country, and a noble work for providing the people with better living conditions, he said, adding, "President Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il paid deep attention to land management and worked heart and soul to make the country more beautiful all their lives."

   Kim Jong-un said the officials and working people in the field of land management should firmly preserve and always "glorify the great General's idea and leadership feats in the land management and thoroughly carry out his last instructions without the slightest deviation or concession and face-lift the land as befitting that of a thriving socialist nation."

   "It is necessary to turn Pyongyang into a capital city of the sacred revolution, a magnificent and picturesque world-class city based on the revolutionary outlook on the leader," he said.

   "The city of Pyongyang has been successfully laid out, centering around the statues of the President and the General standing high on Mansu Hill. It is necessary to green the areas around the statues and the Mansudae area. It is important to spruce up the area of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun as the sacred temple of Juche."

   He continued that Mangyongdae should be improved as a "holy land of the sun" so as to convey the greatness of the President and his undying feats, generation after generation.

   Saying Pyongyang should be built into a center and model city of songun (military-first) culture as well as a city based on the revolutionary outlook of the leader, Kim emphasized all land except that being cultivated should be covered with trees, grass, flowers and other plants so there would be no wasted or weed-filled land.

   Great efforts should be directed to land management and preservation, tideland reclamation and land realignment, he said. "The work for creating forests and protecting them should be carried out well to turn the whole country into thick woodland and greenery."

   Attention should also be paid to improving water management, including the improvement of rivers and streams, he said. Various structures including dam and lock gates should be built in the rivers and streams and gravity-fed waterways and irrigation channels be maintained and reinforced on a regular basis.

   "Doing so would make it possible to prevent floods and drought and make an effective use of water, generate electricity, breed fish and add to the beauty of the landscape," Kim said.

   The period from every November to March should be set as a period for protecting forest and underground resources and from every March to July as a period for protecting useful animals. Nature conservation should be done in an intensive way as an "all-party, nationwide and all-people" task during these periods, he said.

   He also called for making brisk scientific and technological exchanges with other countries and international organizations.

  
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North Korea to Join Paralympics for First Time

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea will enter the Paralympic Games in London this year, a pro-North newspaper said on May 9, marking the first time the socialist country will compete in the games for the physically disabled.

   North Korean Paralympic athletes left for Beijing on May 3 and will hold joint training sessions with their Chinese counterparts until early June, according to the Choson Sinbo, a Tokyo-based newspaper seen as a mouthpiece of the Pyongyang regime.

   The athletes will stay at a sports village in the Chinese capital and conduct training and competitions in table tennis, swimming and athletics, among other sports, it said.

   The London Paralympic Games are set for Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.

   The paper reported in December that North Korea was preparing to join the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the competition's global governing body, in order to take part in this year's event.

   That attempt ended in failure, but a South Korean official at the Korea Sports Association for the Disabled in Seoul said North Korea won provisional membership of the IPC in March.

   "Provisional member countries are also given the right to take part in the Paralympics," the official said on customary condition of anonymity. "This is the first time North Korea has won the right to participate."

   A country's past participation in international competitions is a key indicator of its qualifications for joining the Paralympics, according to the Choson Sinbo.

   "(North Korean) athletes will gain that qualification through this trip to China," it said.

   North Korea is a frequent participant in both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The country has so far competed in eight Summer Games and won 10 gold and 41 total medals.

   It will also compete at the upcoming London Olympics set for July 27 to Aug. 12.

  (END)
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