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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 229 (Sept. 27, 2012)

North Korean Premier Urges Production Increase at Industrial Sites

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean Premier Choe Yong-rim has urged officials and workers of major industrial plants to boost production, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Sept. 20.

   In a field survey of the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex and the February 8 Vinalon Complex, the premier convened consultative meetings and referred to the need for officials and workers to boost the production of fertilizers for socialist rural areas.

   Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, North Korea's biggest chemical fertilizer plant, is reportedly promoting works to double its production facility by 2014. The February 8 Vinalon Complex is also a representative factory in North Korea.

   The consultative meetings urged measures to increase production by improving the management of equipment and technical control at the production processes including the process of vinalon fiber. Measures were also taken for relevant units to supply necessary resources and materials, the KCNA said.

   Choe reportedly said enterprises play very important roles in building economic power and improving the people's standard of living, calling on workers to take the lead in the on-going advance for a surge.

   Earlier, he went round the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex and discussed measures to increase the production of iron and steel, the KCNA added.


North Korea Blasts U.S. for Beefing up Its Missile Defense

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Sept. 20 lashed out at a U.S. move to bolster its missile defense by deploying a new radar array in Japan, saying the move is compelling the North to shore up its nuclear capability.

   The criticism came in a response by a spokesperson for the North's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to U.S. Defense Minister Leon Panetta's visit to Japan on Sept. 17, where he signed an agreement with his Japanese counterpart to deploy the new X-band radar array.

   During an interview with the KCNA, the spokesman asserted the move is part of a U.S. bid to complete a regional missile defense system, targeting large countries in Europe and Asia. He said that would only raise regional tensions and accelerate arms races between countries.

   The spokesperson also said the measure in Japan is tantamount to an open admission of the U.S. hostility toward the North, saying the U.S. defense chief openly declared the new radar is targeted at North Korea, not China.

   "The U.S. attitude requires the DPRK (North Korea) to become a more powerful nuclear weapons state, befitting the 'rival' of the U.S," the KCNA quoted him as saying.

   The spokesperson added that under the current circumstance of the U.S. building up its military power, the North's efforts to constantly beef up its nuclear deterrence are natural.
In its revised constitution last April, North Korea described itself as a nuclear-armed state. It is continuing its construction of nuclear facilities including light water reactors, in what it claims is a bid to reinforce its nuclear deterrence.

   The North conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and is believed to possess a dozen atomic bombs, according to nuclear experts and military experts.

   Missile defense systems are weapons or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception and destruction of attacking missiles. Originally conceived as a defense system against nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, the concept of missile defense has broadened its application to include shorter-ranged non-nuclear tactical and theater missiles.


N. Korea Threatens Military Action Amid Inter-Korean Maritime Tension

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea threatened unspecified military actions on Sept. 22 after South Korean navy patrol boats fired warning shots to repel several Northern fishing boats that violated the western maritime border.

   On Sept. 21, South Korean patrol boats spotted six North Korean fishing vessels in southern waters in the Yellow Sea and fired warning shots to force them back. There were no casualties reported from the North.

   Calling the warning shots an "adventurous military provocation," the KCNA said, "The Southwestern Frontline Command stands ready for an operation order to turn the Yellow Sea into a trap for the enemy."

   The Korean-language KCNA report said North Korea has few options but to carry out "powerful attacks," insisting that the country's front-line troops know no limits for retaliation.

   The maritime border in the Yellow Sea, commonly called the Northern Limit Line (NLL), is the scene of several bloody naval skirmishes between the two Koreas. Most recently in March, 2010, North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship in the area, killing 46 sailors.

   It was the first time in two years that South Korea has used military power to repel intruding North Korean fishing boats. The area is rich in crabs and other pricey fish.

   When its navy boats took action against the North Korean fishing boats, South Korea's military also deployed a fighter jet, a military source said.


North Korean Media Carry Flurry of Articles to Praise Kim Jong-suk

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean media outlets have issued a flurry of articles daily since Sept. 17 to praise Kim Jong-suk, the wife of North Korean founding leader Kim Il-sung, on the anniversary of her death.

   Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK), on Sept. 21 said in a front page article that 450,000 North Koreans and a total of 4,200 organizations visited the statue of Kim Jong-suk in Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery on Mt. Taesong this year.

   "The life of Kim Jong-suk, anti-Japanese war hero, was a brilliant one of a legendary great woman who left clear footsteps in the 100-year-long history of Kim Il-sung's Korea and the one of a great revolutionary who performed noble feats to be conveyed to posterity," Rodong Sinmun reported on Sept. 22.

   The KCNA reported the same day, "Kim Jong-suk, an anti-Japanese war hero, was (the) mother of Songun (military-first) Korea as she gave birth and brought up leader Kim Jong-il to be the heir to the revolutionary cause of Juche pioneered by President Kim Il-sung."

   It is not unusual for North Korean media to offer ample eulogies to Kim Jong-suk around Sept. 22, the anniversary of her death. However, watchers in Seoul said it was different this year as some of the articles remind readers of the image of Ri Sol-ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

   The watchers said North Korea is underscoring the image of Kim as the "mother of the people" to coincide with the image of Ri.

   Rodong Sinmun on Sept. 18 reported that Kim took care of the dining of North Korean soldiers during her visit to a military unit following Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

   Watchers said this reminds readers of Ri, who accompanied Kim Jong-un during his inspection of a military unit on Aug. 24. The North's official Korean Central TV Station aired a scene showing a smiling Ri talking with two female soldiers in a kitchen of the unit.

   North Korea recently designated a "Day of Mother." Although it has not revealed the exact date, watchers presume it will be around the anniversary of Kim's death.

   During his inspection of Pyongyang Floriculture Institute on Sept. 22, Kim Jong-un said, "As the Day of Mother was instituted in the country, it would be nice to buy flowers and present them to mothers and housewives on that day."

   North Korea designated the mother's day as a commemorative day to build up Kim Jong-un's image as the leader of the people among women and to consolidate unity among residents, the watchers said.


N. Korea Stresses Experiments, Practice in Secondary School Education

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has stressed continuously it will reinforce experimentation and practice in secondary school education.

   Rodong Sinmun said on Sept. 22 strong winds are blowing to strengthen secondary school education across the country, to comply with the intention of the Workers' Party.

   The paper explained new education methods are being applied to every class so students can find problems and resolutions as well as methods of learning in Rungna Middle School in Pyongyang, departing from obsolete methods that depend on teachers' unilateral explanations.

   The paper cited the use of compact disks and digital versatile disks, models and experimental apparatus in a mathematics class as an example of the new education method.

   Radio Pyongyang also introduced the changes in education designed to improve students' capabilities of application and practice through experiments.

   Earlier on Aug. 11, Rodong Sinmun reported there are strong winds for educational revolution and education authorities are establishing new goals to offer young students "living knowledge" that is practicably applicable.