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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 240 (Dec. 13, 2012)

N. Korea Lashes out at S. Korea for Consenting to U.N. Resolution

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea accused South Korea on Dec. 6 of prodding the United Nations to adopt a resolution condemning its human rights situation, calling it an "unacceptable political provocation.

   The Third Committee of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly passed an EU-drafted resolution against North Korea's human rights abuses. It has adopted such a resolution every year since 2005, but this was the first time that a resolution has been passed with consensus and without a vote.

   The Nov. 27 resolution condemned North Korea for its "systematic, widespread and grave" human rights violations. North Korea dismissed it as an unfair attempt to undermine its leadership and system.
"There's never been and cannot be a problem such as human rights issues in our republic where politics best embodying the devotion toward its people," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report, monitored in Seoul.

   The North claimed that human rights abuses exist in South Korea, saying Seoul has "no hope for future since the conservative Saenuri Party is conspiring to revive dictatorship through the leadership takeover."

   The North Korean delegation to the session described the resolution as an "act of the state political terrorism" that reflects "interference in internal affairs."


N. Korea Insists on the Resumption of Tours to Mt. Kumgang

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Dec. 8 insisted the South Korean tours to the North's Mount Kumgang should be resumed at any cost, again criticizing the suspended tours to the scenic mountain as the biggest crime committed by South Korea's Lee Myung-bak government.

   The North's state organization overseeing the mountain resort said in a statement that the country will make positive efforts to reopen the way for South Korean people to visit Mount Kumgang, according to the North's official KCNA.

   In the statement, the Guidance Bureau of Special Zone for International Tour of Mt. Kumgang claimed the biggest crime committed by the traitor Lee Myung-bak and the ruling Saenuri Party over the past five years was the breakdown of the Mount Kumgang tour.

   "The puppet conservative regime is making nasty excuses on the mounting public call for the resumption of the Mount Kumgang tours, while the Saenuri Party is showing its ill-intention to block the tour program," the statement claimed.

   "The South Korean puppet group did not respond to a series of proposals for authorities-level talks made by the DPRK (North Korea) side for the resumption of the tour of Mt. Kumgang under the pretext of 'examination' and 'future notification,'" the North's statement said.

   The bureau said the South Korean puppet group even enforced a news blackout on the real circumstances of the scrapped tour to the mountain resort, preventing its criminal nature from being known to the South Korean public.

   The statement said that the South Korean regime's act of treachery can never be tolerated, stressing that nothing can cover up its criminal nature.

   Cross-border tours for South Koreans to Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast have been suspended since a South Korean woman was shot to death by a North Korean soldier there in July 2008 while on a tour.

   Seoul has since refused to allow the resumption of the program, citing the lack of guarantee from the North to protect the safety of South Korean tourists.


North Korea Names So Chang-sik as New Ambassador to Kuwait

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has named a career diplomat as its new ambassador to Kuwait, the country's state news agency reported on Dec. 8.

   So Chang-sik, a former chief of the international organizations division at the North's foreign affairs ministry, was appointed to the post, the KCNA said in a short dispatch.

   He appears to have replaced Ho Jong who had been in the post for more than eight years since 2004. The outgoing North Korean envoy paid a farewell call on the Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Nov. 26, according to the KCNA.

   Thousands of North Koreans are known to be staying in Kuwait as construction workers.


N. Korean Claims Rocket, Nuclear Weapons Needed for Self-defense

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed on Dec. 10 that if it did not have nuclear weapons and rockets to carry them, the United States would have attacked it a long time ago.

   The claim, made in a report by the country's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmum, is in line with Pyongyang's long-running policy of justifying its push to develop weapons of mass destruction.

   The claim was simultaneously carried by Radio Pyongyang whose main audiences are foreigners.

   Citing a policy pursued by Kim Jong-il, the late father of incumbent leader Kim Jong-un, who ruled the country from 1994 until his death in late 2011, the report said there is a clear difference between a country that launches a rocket made by a foreign power and a country that can make one on its own, indicating that the country's rocket program is home-grown.

   The report said North Korea is proud that it has acquired the technology that even very rich countries have not been able to secure.

   The paper also said that if the United States threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, Pyongyang can counter it with atomic weapons
The newspaper commentary came as North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range rocket that outside analysts say can reach as far as the United States.

   A South Korean analysts said the Rodong Sinmun commentary can be seen as justification for the planned rocket launch.


North Korean Officials Pledge Allegiance to Young New Leader

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean officials swore loyalty to their young leader Kim Jong-un in a rally meant to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of his late father and leader Kim Jong-il, the North's state media reported on Dec. 11.

   Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, took over the impoverished socialist country in December 2011 when his father died abruptly of a heart attack. The junior Kim has since consolidated his power by replacing disloyal officials.

   On Dec. 11, North Korean officials placed flowers in front of the giant statues of the country's founder Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il, on Mansudae Hill overlooking Pyongyang, the KCNA said in a report.

   "The participants vowed to uphold the dying wish of Grand Marshal Kim Jong-il and rally around Marshal Kim Jong-un to build a powerful country," said the report, monitored in Seoul.

   The Dec. 11 rally was held ahead of the first anniversary of Kim Jong-il's demise, slated for Dec. 17.

   It also comes as the country is pushing to launch a long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings.

   North Korea originally had planned to fire off the three-stage rocket, called "Unha 3," between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22 but extended the launch window by a week until Dec. 29.

   It would be the second rocket launch attempt under Kim Jong-un. In April, North Korea's long-range rocket exploded shortly after liftoff.

   North Korea insists the launch is to put a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite into space. South Korea, the United States and other regional powers suspect that it is a cover to test the North's ballistic missile technology, in violation of U.N. resolutions.