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NORTH KOREA NEWS LETTER NO. 245 (January 17, 2013)

N. Korea Highlights Superiority over S. Korea in Space Rocket Technology

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Apparently encouraged by its successful rocket launch in December, North Korea has highlighted its triumph in space technology while showing off its superiority over the South in its scientific prowess and political system.

   The North's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, pointed out in an article on Jan. 11 that the rocket technology gap between South and North Korea is very wide, saying every walk of life in South Korea marveled at the North's successful launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 which entered into orbit on Dec. 12.

   Highly evaluating North Korea's capabilities in space technology, the newspaper said every sector of South Korea has praised the rocket technology of the North as far surpassing that of South Korea and this was proved by the Unha-3 rocket launch.

   In its article titled, "High-level of space technology and response from South Koreans," the organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party said South Korean Internet netizens even claimed that if South Korea had commissioned the North Korean scientists and engineers for the launching of its own rocket, it could have been successful far earlier.

   South Korea has failed two times to launch its Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), also known as Naro.

   It will be making its third attempt between Jan. 30 and Feb. 8 to send off the space rocket after its two earlier attempts in 2009 and 2010 ended in failures.

   North Korea's launch of the long-range Unha-3 rocket, with a range of over 10,000 kilometers, on Dec. 12 showed that the socialist country has the basic capability to build an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States.

   In December, the North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station quoted China's leading newspaper, People's Daily, as having reported North Korea had surpassed South Korea in the space science field and commented on how the North had succeeded in launching the satellite rocket at a time when the South had postponed launching the Naro rocket.

   Analysts said the North will produce aggressive propaganda for its scientific superiority over the South through the successful launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2.

   Condemned by the international community, the launch has been widely heralded within the North as a triumph of the country's scientific prowess and strong leadership, and effectively bolstered its leader Kim Jong-un's stature among his citizenry.

   North Korean watchers said that Pyongyang and Kim are clearly elated by the Unha-3's success, with reports claiming it was a landmark in North Korea's history and would bolster the country's standing among nations.

   They said the North Korean leadership is moving to capitalize on this accomplishment and use the confidence it built to make changes in policies, including those governing relations with South Korea and the United States.


N. Korea Renews Call for Dissolution of United Nations Command

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's foreign ministry on Jan. 14 called again for a peace treaty to replace the cease-fire armistice that halted the Korean War (1950-1953) and the dissolution of the United Nations Command (UNC) in South Korea.

   In a "diplomatic note" reported by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the ministry pointed out that an unstable truce has remained in place for 60 years after the armistice was signed.

   It argued that the reason why the United States has persistently ignored calls by Pyongyang to replace the cease-fire pact with a permanent peace treaty is because it wants to hold onto the armistice regime and the UNC. It said the multinational forces command led by a U.S. general is a relic of the Cold War.

   The UNC was set up by a U.N. Security Council Resolution in July 1953 that called for a unified command structure to repel the North's invasion of the South a month earlier. During the three year war, 16 countries sent troops to help Seoul, with others providing humanitarian assistance. The command structure has remained in place after the cease-fire although it has been augmented by the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

   North Korea observers in Seoul said Pyongyang's attack on the military command is part of its "peace offensive" that can help the country gain the upper hand and set the agenda in future talks with Washington. In the past Pyongyang has used diplomatic notes to make known its version of the truth in the foreign affair sphere.

   North Korea's foreign ministry also said the immediate breakup of the UNC will be a critical test of determining whether or not the United States wants to maintain its belligerent policies toward the North. It can show if Washington is interested in expanding peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia or wants to revive the confrontational stance of the Cold War era, the media outlet citing the ministry said.

   The socialist country pointed out that UNC currently does not have the consensus support of member states and it is a structure that is using the U.N. name without authorization. It claimed that all matters related to the cease-fire are discussed directly between North Korean and U.S. military officers so the UNC is an unnecessary organization.

   It said the DPRK (North Korea) will maintain and strengthen its war deterrent capabilities until the United States decides to make the right move.

   In addition, the ministry claimed that Washington is currently in the process of expanding the tactical boundaries of the UNC beyond the Korean Peninsula to cover the Asia-Pacific region. This, it said, is a ploy to use the military command as a tool to conduct its war of invasion.

   This stance echoes what the North said at the United Nations general assembly in October. At that time, it said the UNC is being used by the United States to conduct hostile policies against the DPRK.


N. Korea Stress Economic Achievements as Leader Aims to Build Strong Economy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea stepped up their efforts to highlight various economic achievements as the country's leader called for the building of a strong economy, the North's media reports picked up in Seoul said on Jan. 14.

   Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's message that his country should become an economic powerhouse and emphasized the need for all people to rally behind this cause. He urged mobilization of the ruling party, country and people to improve productivity.

   The (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station, a radio station that targets North Koreans, claimed revolutionary changes in iron ore production, via cooperation of workers that could help raise the daily output by 120 percent at a mine in Musan.

   Musan, in South Hamgyong Province, is home to one of the largest iron ore deposits in the socialist country and has drawn investment from a Chinese company.

   The broadcaster also said innovative processes have been made in the two large steel mills.
Another media outlet, Radio Pyongyang, reported on successes made by a construction cooperative in North Phyongan Province and a tidal flat reclamation work underway along the Yellow Sea coast.

   In regards to the reclamation project, the radio station said a long sea wall measuring several kilometers had been successfully built due to the dedication and the fighting spirit of workers.

   Other news agencies such as Uriminzokkiri, North Korea's propaganda Web site, said soldiers and government officials have been able to produce substantial quantities of calcium hydroxide needed for the improvement of arable land.

   North Korean analysts in the South said the sudden increase in reports and use of words such as "mobilization of all resources" may be a move by Pyongyang and Kim to use the country's manpower resources to invigorate its backward economy that is hard pressed to feed its people without outside assistance.


N. Korea Revives Attack against S. Korea's Ruling Saenuri Party

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea slammed the South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party for pushing a pro-human rights act on Jan. 14, reviving criticism that had been suspended for nearly a month amid the country's alleged efforts to mend ties with the incoming government in Seoul.

   "How dare the gang of Lee Myung-bak and the Saenuri Party, the kingpins of human rights violations (in the South), comment on someone else's human rights," North Korea's propaganda Web site Uriminzokkiri said in an article, referring to the ruling party's call on Jan. 3 to enact the law to protest human rights of North Koreans.

   Following the U.S. Congress' passage of the "North Korean Child Welfare Act of 2012, aimed at improving human rights of child refugees from the country, Saenuri urged the opposition parties to support the ruling party-led efforts to adopt a similar act aimed at improving human rights in the socialist country.

   Pyongyang has shown strong hostility toward foreign countries' efforts to adopt similar laws, deeming them as an infringement on the country's sovereignty and an attempt to topple its regime.

   Opposition from liberal and progressive parties helped drop the 2008 Saenuri-led bill from being made into a law in the past, but the conservative party has taken steps to bring the matter up again.

   The Jan. 14 name-calling against the Saenuri Party followed two other North Korean newspapers' criticism released on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13 against the conservatives in the wake of the proposal made earlier in January.

   The fresh round of name-calling marks the revival after a month of quiet. Following Park Geun-hye's presidential election victory on Dec. 19, the country had refrained from its previously rampant name-calling against the ruling party and the president-elect in what South Korean analysts said were its efforts to watch for an opportunity to mend ties with the South.


AP Vice President Visits North Korea: KCNA

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- An Associated Press delegation, led by its vice president, John Daniszewski, arrived in North Korea on Jan. 14, the North's news agency said.

   The KCNA said in a brief report, monitored in Seoul, that the American news agency group arrived in Pyongyang by plane. It gave no other details, including the purpose of the trip and itinerary.

   AP became the first western media outlet to open a bureau in Pyongyang in January 2012, and the visit may be timed to mark its first anniversary. AP opened its Pyongyang office in the KCNA building on Jan. 16.

   Together with its television affiliate, APTN, which opened an office in North Korea in 2006, AP now can send new articles, photos and video images from the socialist country.


North Korea to Hold Scientific Farming Lectures for Farmers

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to give scientific farming lectures to small group chiefs of co-op farms, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper published in Japan, reported on Jan. 14.

   The Choson Sinbo reported North Korea is aggressively promoting "scientification and integration" of farming in order to achieve the production targets in agriculture.

   "As a practical measure scientific farming lectures will be held for the chiefs of the smallest units in co-op farms across the country early this year," the paper said.

   The smallest co-op farm group is composed of about 15 farmers.

   The paper went on that North Korea is studying measures to make agricultural production scientific and measures are being taken to make every process, from establishing farming plans to planting seeds and mechanized farming processes, to be fitted to the need for scientification.

   Meanwhile the KCNA reported on the same day that farming preparations are gaining momentum in the country.

   The KCNA reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year address that the country should fulfill this year's plan for grain production without fail by concentrating nationwide efforts on farming and raising the efficiency of agricultural production by the dint of scientific and intensive methods.

   "In hearty response to his New Year address, agricultural workers in the DPRK (North Korea) have turned out to prepare for farming this year," the KCNA said.