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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 227 (Sept. 13, 2012)

North Korea Blasts U.S. Troops Stationed in South Korea

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The presence of U.S. troops in South Korea vividly reflects its hostile policy toward North Korea, which will prod the socialist state to bolster its nuclear deterrent, the North's Foreign Ministry said on Sept. 7.

   "The U.S. Forces' presence in South Korea turned the Korean Peninsula into the world's biggest hotspot and it has become a malignant tumor that seriously threatens peace and stability in Northeast Asia and, furthermore, the rest of the world," the North's Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   "As long as its forces remain in South Korea, the U.S. is not entitled to claim that it has no hostile intent toward the DPRK (North Korea) and no one will believe it, either," he said.

   The spokesman said if the U.S. seeks to keep its forces in South Korea, it is tantamount to an all-out war with the North.

   In addition to some 650,000 South Korean troops, about 28,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed throughout South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War. The conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, and left the two Koreas technically at war.


New Construction Work Underway on Site of Pyongyang Golf Course

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A new building is being constructed in place of a golf course affiliated with one of North Korea's biggest hotels in Pyongyang, an Internet Web site that tracks the North reported on Sept. 7.

   Photographic images posted on the Web site North Korean Economy Watch show the Yanggakdo golf club affiliated with the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang no longer exists and construction work has recently begun on the site.

   It is difficult to know what type of building is being constructed, although the Web site said it will be a Chinese-funded health complex.

   The high-rise hotel is known to be mostly frequented by foreign tourists and is the second-tallest building in North Korea after the best-known Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang.

   The Web site said North Korea operates a few 18-hole golf courses other than the one that was near the international hotel.


N. Korean Leader Inspects History Park, Sports Center in Pyongyang

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un together with his wife Ri Sol-ju visited Pyongyang Folk Park and a sports center called the Physical Exercise Center in Pyongyang shortly before the completion of the facilities, North Korean media reported on Sept. 8.

   In the folk park, Kim toured districts of history education and display of historic relics, and the folk village district after hearing a report from commanding officers that the park had been successfully completed.

   He called for managing and operating the park well "to help people and school youth and children more deeply grasp the Juche character and national identity," while underlining the need to build the world district.

   After touring the park, Kim looked around the sports center with his wife.

   The Physical Exercise Center is a modern facility built according to the direct initiative and plan of Kim, the KCNA said.

   The center with a total floor space of 13,749 square meters consists of a physical exercise room for health, underwater supersonic wave room, recovery room, table-tennis room, soft drink shop and other facilities, according to the KCNA.

   It is equipped with 138 sporting apparatuses of 61 kinds, including apparatuses for running, cycling and paddling exercises and modern medical facilities.

   Kim visited the construction site of the folk park in January and instructed the officials to make the park with the highest standards and inspected the construction site of the sports center in May.

   He was accompanied by high ranking officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA); Jang Song-thaek, department director of the Workers Party of (North) Korea Central Committee; and Kim Jong-gak, minister of the People's Armed Forces.


Pyongyang Folk Park Located in Mt. Taesong Dedicated

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea dedicated a massive history education park called Pyongyang Folk Park in near Mt. Taesong in Pyongyang on Sept. 11, according to the North's news outlet.

   The park, built on a site of 2 million square meters, consists of the district for comprehensive history education, a district for the display of historic relics, modern district, folk village district, folk playing district, park district of Mts. Paektu and Kumgang, and the management and operation district, the North's official news outlet KCNA said.

   In an open-air history museum, visitors can see and experience the good qualities of the (North) Korean nation and the genuine socialist national culture developing day by day, the KCNA added.

   "The construction of the park greatly helps the (North) Korean people, including school youth and children, inherit and glorify the excellent tradition and brilliant culture of the nation," the news agency said.

   Top officials from party, state and armed forces of North Korea attended the dedication ceremony for the park which the KCNA says greatly helps the (North) Korean people inherit and glorify the excellent traditions and brilliant culture of the nation.

   Vice Marshall Kim Jong-gak, minister of the People's Armed Forces, said in a speech the park is one of the nation's treasures and the monumental edifices in the Songun (military-first) era initiated by leader Kim Jong-il.
He stressed that Kim Jong-un gave field guidance to the construction site several times, true to Kim Jong-il's plan for building the park and underscored the need to spruce up the park and successfully manage and operate it.


North Korean Premier Choe Yong-rim Inspects Flood-stricken Komdok Area

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean Premier Choe Yong-rim made a field survey of Komdok area in South Hamgyong Province where operations are now under way to recover from typhoon and downpour damage as early as possible, the KCNA reported on Sept. 11.

   Earlier on Sept. 7, the KCNA reported according to initial data that this area suffered from huge damage, saying that more than 2,000 houses were leveled and 170 odd public buildings were destroyed or had drifted away.

   Choe went round various flood-hit places to see in detail about the recovery operations and living of the people there and held consultative meeting to speed up the recovery operation.

   The meeting discussed issues of bringing the people's living in the afflicted areas back to normal at an early date and matters of restoring destroyed railways and roads. It underscored the need for all the units including ministries and national institutions to render sincere help in the recovery operations.

   The Komdok area is famous as the production site of nonferrous metal like zinc and magnesite and North Korea has been waging a high-pitched drive to recover from flood damage at the order of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

   Ahead of visiting Komdok area, Premier Choe visited the General Dental Hospital of the Ministry of Public Health and took measures for updating it, according to the KCNA.


North Korea Extends Arirang Festival Until September 27

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has extended its annual dance and gymnastics performance, called the Arirang festival, until late this month, according to a Beijing-based travel agency on Sept. 12.

   Koryo Tours, the agency which specializes in tours to the North, said on its official Web site, "We have been informed (from the North) that the Mass Games 2012 is extended until Sept. 27."

   This year's performance began on Aug. 1, marking the centenary of the birth of the North's late founder Kim Il-sung, and was originally scheduled to run through Sept. 9.

   The travel agency said that the reason for the extension is not known, but the extension itself is not unusual since the performance has been prolonged every year since 2008.

   Experts are speculating that the country is extending the show in a bid to earn foreign currency.

   In earlier August, Choson Sinbo, a Tokyo-based newspaper seen as a mouthpiece of Pyongyang, said that a total of 10,000 foreigners and North Koreans based overseas had applied for the entry to the socialist country to watch the performance.

   The performance, named after a famous Korean folk song, features tens of thousands of young gymnasts performing synchronized acrobatics, dance routines and flip-card animations, in what are believed to be the largest mass games in the world.

   First introduced in 2002 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the late founder's birth, the performance has been held every year since 2007 to praise the Kim dynasty and its policies.

   The North added new scenes this year dedicated to praising new leader Kim Jong-un, who inherited power after the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong-il in December.