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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 239 (Dec. 6, 2012)
*** NEWS IN BRIEF

N. Korea's Anti-South Propaganda Web Site to Begin Broadcasting Soon

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's anti-Seoul propaganda Web site said on Nov. 29 it will start a broadcast channel this week, hinting Pyongyang may resume its propaganda broadcasts, deemed a major tool of psychological warfare with the South.

   Pyongyang's Web site Uriminzokkiri said in a post uploaded on Nov. 29, "Starting on Dec. 1, 2012, broadcast 'The Echo of Unification' will begin." The broadcasts will run from 7 a.m. through 9 a.m., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the Web site said.

   The site indicated the broadcast is not related to the government, but Seoul officials regard it as a resumption of a previous anti-South propaganda channel which was suspended since 2003 when late liberal-minded president Roh Moo-hyun was in power in Seoul. The previous broadcast stared in 1970 to air propaganda news against the South. The two countries remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty.

   The new broadcast will "deliver (news of) the consistent aim and the wish of the entire nation, which wants national unification as well as unity," the North Korean Web site said.

   The resumption is widely believed to mark the North's response to frozen ties with Seoul as well as South Korean activists' repetitive launches of balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets over to the North.

  
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Chinese Delegation Delivers Xi Jinping's Letter to Kim Jong-un

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A delegation of Chinese officials visiting North Korea on Nov. 30 delivered a letter from China's new leader Xi Jinping to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the North's state media said.

   Kim held talks with Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, and other officials of the Communist Party of China, said the North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul.

   Li gave Kim a letter from Xi, who was officially named China's leader in a party congress earlier November, the North Korean media said, but it did not elaborate on the content of the letter.

   During the Nov. 30 meeting, both sides confirmed their "firm policy" to continue to further develop their cooperative relations, the (North's) Central News Agency said in a separate dispatch.

   Kim expressed his hope over China's fulfillment of its strategy to build an affluent socialist society under the guidance of Xi, according to the news agency.

   Experts in Seoul said the countries may have discussed the North's alleged plan to launch a long-range missile test in the near future during the Chinese delegation's two-day visit.

   The news outlet said the delegation headed back home on Nov. 30.

  
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North Korea Replaces Defense Chief: Official

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea apparently replaced its defense chief recently in the latest in a series of signs that leader Kim Jong-un is shaking up top military posts depending on the personnel's allegiance to him, a senior South Korean official said on Nov. 29.

   Kim Kyok-shik, a hawkish general believed to have orchestrated the North's sinking of a South Korean warship and an artillery attack on a border island in 2010, replaced Kim Jong-gak as minister of the People's Armed Forces, the senior official said.

   It is unclear why Kim Jong-gak was sacked after just seven months in office, he said.

   "But there have been obvious signs that top military leaders are being replaced according to their allegiance," the official said. "One of the recent messages from first secretary Kim was that those without allegiance are nothing more than a 'stick.' It appears they are rocking (the military leadership) depending on allegiance."

   Kim took over the North Korean leadership after his father Kim Jong-il died in December of last year.

  
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N. Korea Belatedly Reports S. Korea's Delay of Space Rocket Launch

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Dec. 2 belatedly reported South Korea had delayed the launch of its own space rocket, as the socialist country prepares to fire off a long-range rocket.

   "South Korea's third attempt to launch a space rocket has failed," the North's official Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) said, describing the delay as a botched attempt.

   On Nov. 29, South Korea pushed back the scheduled launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also known as the Naro-1. The Naro-1 was set to launch at 4 p.m., but was halted with less than 17 minutes before the scheduled launch as abnormal signals from the thrust vector system of the upper (second) stage rocket were detected.

   The KCBS report, citing the Global Times, an international news arm of China's state-run People's Daily, added that South Korea's two earlier attempts in August 2009 and June 2010 to send a rocket into space ended in failure.

   The two Koreas have separately been making efforts to launch their own rockets recently.

   Pyongyang also announced on Dec. 1 that it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and 22 to put what it called a "working satellite" into orbit, a move that would further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

  
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N. Korea Demands Park Geun-hye Reveal Clear Her N. Korea Policy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has publicly asked Park Geun-hye, South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party candidate for the Dec. 19 presidential election, to clearly reveal her positions on future South-North Korean policies, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Dec. 1.

   The North's Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) released a seven-point open questionnaire in which it criticized Park as being contradictory in her "policy toward the North," according to the KCNA.

   "She called for 'keeping promise' while not mentioning the north-south joint declarations, and talked about 'summit talks,' revealing her sordid intention for confrontation between social systems. She is also trying to resort to anti-DPRK nuclear racket and smear human rights campaign while vociferating about 'trust' and 'cooperation,'" the KCNA reported, in an English-language dispatch. "She is openly revealing her intention to follow traitor Lee Myung-bak's 'policy toward the North' while loudly speaking about 'keeping distance from Lee,' 'change,' 'revamp' and 'progress.'"

   The KCNA said deceptive commitments regarding a "policy toward the North" can not work, the open questionnaire said, stressing that Park needs to face the trend of the times and correctly make a final choice.

   The questions included, "Does she have a true intent to break with the confrontation policy of the Lee Myung-bak group and opt for improving the North-South relations with sincere mind?," and "Is the call for 'scrapping nuclear program first' different from the watchwords of 'no nukes, opening and 3.000 dollars'?"

   The open questionnaire was designed to claim President Lee Myung-bak's North Korea policy has been a failure and to press Park to change her commitments on North Korea policy, analysts say.

   North Korea's open questionnaire followed an announcement it plans to launch a rocket carrying a "working satellite" between Dec. 10 and 22, with much of the world suspecting it is in reality testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

  
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North Korea Holds National Meeting of Judicial Officers

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Nov. 5 held a national meeting of judicial officers at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, for the first time in more than five years after the last one in February 2007.

   The North's official KCNA said the meeting was held to observe the 30th anniversary of the publication of the late leader Kim Jong-il's work, "On increasing Obedience to Socialist laws," on Dec. 15, 1982.

   The participants expressed their resolutions to bring about a new turn in the socialist law observance under the leadership of Kim Jong-un and strictly establish a revolutionary legal order throughout society and provide a firm legal guarantee for the building of a thriving nation, the KCNA said.

   They said that the socialist law in the DPRK (North Korea) has demonstrated its might as a law for patriotic devotion, law for protecting the Party; the leader, the country and its people; and a powerful political weapon for building a thriving socialist nation.

   The KCNA said the historic letter by Kim Jong-il to the participants in the 2007 national meeting was conveyed at the meeting but did not elaborate on the contents of the letter.

   North Korean leaders, including Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) Presidium; Choe Thae-bok, the chairman of the SPA; Yang Hyong-sop, the vice president of the SPA Presidium; and Ri Myong-su, the minister of People's Security, attended the meeting along with members of the Committee for Guidance in Socialist Law Observance at each level and judicial officers.

   North Korea has held a series of national meetings of security related organizations in which participants expressed firm loyalty to Kim Jong-un who took power after his father Kim Jong-il died in December last year. A national meeting of chiefs of branch social security stations was held on Nov. 23, followed by a national meeting of active judges and prosecutors on Nov. 26.

  (END)
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