select languages
NorthKorea_titleN.K. NewsletterVantagePointlmenu_bottom
FocusFocus Focus
latestnewslatestnews RSS
Home > NorthKorea

Envoy's Visit to China Gets Extensive N. Korean Media Coverage

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean media gave extensive coverage on May 23 to the visit by its special envoy to Beijing that may help ease strained ties between the two neighboring countries.

   Choe Ryong-hae, the director of the General Political Bureau of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA), arrived in the Chinese capital on May 22 as an envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

   He met with Wang Jiarui, the head of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee's external affairs department, shortly after his arrival, and is expected to meet with senior political, government and military officials.

   Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK), gave the trip front page coverage and included photos of Choe leaving Pyongyang, arriving in Beijing and meeting with Wang.

   In addition to Rodong Sinmun, media outlets such as the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and (North) Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station (KCBSTV) reported in detail on Choe's trip and his meeting.

   The North Korean news outlets claimed the Choe-Wang talks improved the traditionally strong ties that have existed between the two countries and raised them to the next level. They added the two men exchanged views on how to further strengthen relations.

   North's state media, meanwhile, did not give details on the envoy's itinerary, how long he will be in the country or who he will meet, but many experts predict that Choe will be able to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and deliver a personal letter by Kim.

   North Korea watchers in Seoul said the daily's high-profile reporting is in contrast to the "lack of interest" shown for Jang Song-thaek's trip to China that took place last August. The trip by Jang, which focused mainly on bilateral economic and investment issues, received a slight mention on page four of the paper.

   Jang, the current vice chairman of the country's powerful National Defense Commission and uncle to the incumbent leader, is considered one of the most influential people in the country.


N. Korea Steps up Attacks on Park amid Signs of Diplomacy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on May 26 harshly criticized South Korean President Park Geun-hye for hurting the dignity of its top leadership, clouding chances of easing mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue.

   After leader Kim Jong-un's special envoy visited China on May 22, North Korea showed signs of backing away from confrontation with the international community, though skepticism still persists about its true intention.

   On May 26, North Korea, through its powerful National Defense Commission (NDC), stepped up its attacks on South Korea, calling Park a "puppet president" who revealed the "sinister intention" to stand in confrontation with Pyongyang.

   The North's statement came three days after Park mentioned the North Korean leader's name in a meeting with the director of the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, saying that his two-track policy of rebuilding the North's broken economy and developing its nuclear program would "never" succeed.

   It was the first time that North Korea has specifically used Park's name to heap criticism on her. The North's media had previously referred to her as "the chief of Cheongwadae," which is South Korea's presidential office.

   "Recently she was so pitiful as to coquettishly behave, blustering that the north is attempting a new 'gamble' called new line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force," said the North's statement, carried by its official KCNA.

   "She had better buckle down to grasping the level of its military preparedness before learning how to change her skirt into trousers and change her civilian dress into a military uniform," it said. "We will closely follow the future behaviors of the present ruling quarters of south Korea including Park Geun-hye."

   Tensions have escalated over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests earlier this year and South Korea-U.S. joint military drills, but friction has appeared to ebb since the North has recently moved medium-range missiles off their launch site.

   Analysts expressed concern over the North's aggressive language towards Park, at a time when hopes grow for resuming six-party nuclear disarmament talks with the North.


North Korea Condemns U.S. Ballistic Missile Test

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea condemned on May 26 the United States' recent ballistic missile test, saying the "military provocation" justifies its military buildup.

   On May 22, the U.S. fired the intercontinental ballistic missile Minuteman 3 from a California base as part of the country's test flight aimed at determining weapon accuracy. The original test plan scheduled for mid-April was delayed amid tensions with North Korea.

   "Today's reality on the Korean Peninsula desperately urges our republic to strengthen our defense capacity with every means," North Korea's mainstream Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial. "We do not hide the fact that we are developing (ballistic) missiles in order to secure final victory in an all-out war against the U.S."

   The U.S. missile test contradicts its argument that the North's weapon tests constitute a violation of the international law, the newspaper said, calling the recent launch a "missile threat."

   Radio Pyongyang also criticized the U.S. test on the same day, saying it constitutes a double standard applied by the U.S.

   The claims have been long held by the North, which argued that its missile and nuclear developments are intended to counteract potential attacks by the U.S.

   The North heavily denounced annual Seoul-Washington military exercises in March, saying they are a war rehearsal targeting North Korea.


N. Korean Leader Orders Concealment of Naval Vessels

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the concealment of combat vessels during an inspection tour of a naval unit, state media reported on May 27.

   The KCNA said the remark was made at the Navy's 291 unit after Kim discovered vessels berthed in exposed locations. The report did not say when the visit was made or the location of the unit.

   Kim, who holds the military rank of marshal in the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA), said North Korea's enemies are constantly trying to track the movement of military assets, so it is imperative that they are well concealed. He stressed concealment is a key part of maintaining fighting capability of the country's armed forces.

   The remarks by the leader is a reference to extensive surveillance activities carried out on the North by Seoul and Washington. The allies use the information to gauge the threat level of the socialist country, with a spike in military activity possibly hinting that the North is planning some sort of action.

   Kim also emphasized the importance of preparedness of the military and ordered all upper-echelon commands, including the Ministry of People's Armed Forces, to determine problems that can impede the military's fighting capabilities and make swift corrections.

   The KCNA, meanwhile, said that Kim paid a visit to the Masik Pass Skiing Ground being built by the KPA and provided on-the-spot field guidance.

   The news wire service said that the leader made clear that Pyongyang wants to make the ski course one of the best in the world and ordered all related organizations to offer all necessary assistance. The North wants to open the ski slope this winter.

   Masik is a 768 meter pass located in Kangwon Province on the east coast and is not far from the Pyongyang-Wonsan motorway that links the capital to the port city.


North Korea Says No Plans to Give up Nuclear Capabilities

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on May 28 that it has no plans to unilaterally give up its nuclear capabilities in the face of ceaseless threats from the United States.

   The stance announced in a article carried by Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), said Washington needs to first end its belligerent attitude and claims that the North poses security risks.

   "Under the condition of ceaseless nuclear threats by Washington, Pyongyang will not unilaterally abandon its war deterrence," the paper monitored in Seoul said.

   North Korea's nuclear weapons are the ultimate defender of national interest and a trusted shield to defend peace, the media outlet said. The socialist country despite international pressure detonated its third nuclear device in February and launched two long-range rockets last year.

   The daily, which effectively reflects the views of the WPK and its leadership, then said that it is the United States that had triggered a global nuclear arms race and contributed to the spread of atomic weapons, not North Korea. the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal must be the first to be viewed as a destabilizing force in the region, it said.

   The position comes just days after Pyongyang's special envoy visited Beijing and said the socialist country will return to the stalled six-party talks that were set up to deal with the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

   Choe Ryong-hae, the General Political Bureau of North Korea's People's Army, while in the Chinese capital promised to engage in dialogue with all "interested parties." The Chinese official, on the other hand, made clear to Choe that China's real goal is denuclearization.

   The envoy, however, did not respond to calls by Chinese leaders, including its President Xi Jinping, for a nuclear-free peninsula.

   The paper's view was echoed by Radio Pyongyang, which argued it was Washington that fueled tensions by permitting the sale of advanced drones to South Korea.

   The broadcaster said actions taken by the U.S. justified the North's efforts to strengthen its country's status as a nuclear power and to expand its deterrence capabilities.

   The latest report comes as the National Defense Commission said Saturday that it is because of Pyongyang's calls to simultaneously build up its nuclear arms and its economy that it was able to deter U.S. aggression.

   The goal of attaining economic growth and nuclear capabilities was announced by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier in the year.


N. Korea Calls for Replacing Korean War Armistice with Peace Treaty

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on May 29 called for replacing an armistice signed at the end of the Korean War with a formal peace treaty in order to enhance stability on the Korean Peninsula.

   In an article carried by Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK), the socialist country claimed efforts to hold onto the cease-fire pact that halted the three-year conflict in July 1953 can only be viewed as an attempt to start another war of invasion.

   "There is a pressing need to replace the Armistice Agreement, which is a relic of the war, with a permanent peace regime," the daily monitored in Seoul said.

   An armistice does not guarantee "complete peace" and Washington's move to hold onto the cease-fire agreement reflects its desire to stifle the DPRK (North Korea) by force, it said.

   "If the peace regime was created in the past, the current standoff over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would not have become a problem in the first place," said the paper, which effectively reflects the view of the WPK and its leadership.

   The country has come under attack from the international community for detonating its third nuclear device earlier this year.

   Rodong Sinmun said that the joint South Korea-U.S. Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises that took place in March and April represent a gross violation of the armistice and argued that Pyongyang's decision to unilaterally nullify the cease-fire pact was in direct response to these provocations.

   The Supreme Command of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) announced it was scrapping the armistice on March 5.

   The media outlet said it is unnatural for a cease-fire pact to be maintained for 60 years and if a ruinous situation were to develop on the Korean Peninsula, the blame for such a development will rest solely on the shoulders of the United States that resisted all moves to sign a peace treaty.

   The latest offensive by the North comes a day after the same newspaper said the North will not give up its nuclear deterrent capability in the face of continuing U.S. threats. This stance also follows Chinese leaders telling North Korea's special envoy Choe Ryong-hae that Beijing wants a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

   In a separate article, the paper said that the attempt by Japan to create its version of the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) can only be viewed as the country's attempt to again invade the Korean Peninsula.

   "The move to create its own NSC can only be viewed as a plot to push the current situation surrounding the region into a war setting," it said.