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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 274 (August 8, 2013)

2013/08/08 10:43

*** NEWS IN BRIEF

Pyongyang Claims 60th Armistice Anniversary Events Great Success

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has called this year's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice a great success and urged its people to become single-mindedly united around its leader Kim Jong-un to build a thriving nation.

Rodong Sinmun, the organ of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in an editorial on Aug. 2 called for spurring "the building of a thriving nation and achieving greater victory on all fronts with the 60th anniversary of the victory of the war, celebrated as a grand festival of victors."

   North Korea held an extravaganza of events, including a large-scale military parade, people's rallies and various congratulatory performances to celebrate the armistice anniversary on July 27, which North Korea analysts here say was designed to consolidate the leadership of Kim Jong-un. The new leader is in his second year of ruling the impoverished country.

"The 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War was celebrated with splendor as a great auspicious event to be specially recorded in the history of the nation," the paper said.

Rodong Sinmun also said, "The army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) are advancing toward a great victory, tightly holding the banner of uninterrupted revolution and baton of the victory handed down by the generation who won a victory in the war in the great annals."

The editorial said the anniversary of the founding of the DPRK is about a month away and that all party members and workers should make bold efforts to brilliantly decorate for the 65th anniversary of the founding of the republic.

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North Korea Moves to Develop Cutting-edge Nanotech Industry

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is moving to grow its nanotech industry and produce high-tech products, Pyongyang's state media reported on Aug. 2.

Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK), said in an article that the country's nanotech center that was recently built has made advances in medicine, energy, environmental conservation, light industry and farming.

Nanotechnology involves controlling matter on a molecular scale, leading to the creation of materials of high commercial value and with wide-ranging benefits.

The newspaper monitored in Seoul said the nanotech center, built under the guidance of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has played a key part in developing the sector. It added that roughly 1,000 nano products and prototypes were on display at the 10th nano science exhibition that opened on Tuesday.

North Korean media started mentioning the nanotech center in April, although no detail was made public on when it was established.

It said the country's technicians from universities and laboratories have been able to develop agricultural sterilizers, growth accelerators, air cleaners and shoes.

The daily also said the total number of products showcased at the exhibit represents a 10-fold increase from just four years ago, highlighting the progress made by the country in the next-generation technology.

The latest news article follows another report by the North's Korean Central News Agency that claimed in May that many practical products to cope with athlete's foot have reached consumers in the socialist country.

In June, Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based pro-Pyongyang newspaper, said an alcoholic beverage made using nano technology enjoyed popularity in Pyongyang.

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North Korea Ranks 5th at International Math Olympiad

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has ranked fifth among dozens of countries competing in this year's International Math Olympiad in July, Pyongyang's state-run media said on Aug. 3.

The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said six students from the Pyongyang Secondary School No. 1 won two gold and four silver medals, respectively, at the 54th International Math Olympiad held in Santa Marta, Colombia.

North Korea ranked fifth after China, South Korea, the United States and Russia in the event running from July 18-28, the South's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said.

South Korea bagged five gold medals and one silver medal for a total of 204 points, just four points behind China.

The International Math Olympiad is an annual competition for high school students established in 1959. More than 520 students from 97 countries participated in this year's event.

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N. Korea's Titular Head Meets with New Iranian President

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's titular head of state, has met with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, the North's official media said on Aug. 4.

During the meeting held on Aug. 3, Kim delivered the greetings of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Rouhani, while the Iranian president said the relations between the two countries will expand and develop, looking back on the fact that he met with the North's founder Kim Il-sung 30 years ago, the North's official KCNA said.

Kim, president of the Presidium of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, arrived in the Middle Eastern nation's capital on Aug. 3 to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Iranian president on the invitation of the Iranian government, it said.

Kim was accompanied by Pak Kil-yon, the vice minister of Foreign Affairs and other officials, the KCNA said.

Rouhani officially replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran in the ceremony held on Saturday in Tehran.

Kim Yong-nam made a stopover in Beijing on Aug. 1 en route to Iran to attend the inauguration of Rowhani and returned back home on Aug. 5, according to the North's news outlets.

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North Korea Blasts Japan's New Defense Report as Provocative

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned on Aug. 6 that Japan is following a militarization program that is escalating regional tension that had already crossed "the danger line."

   A commentary by the North's official KCNA highlighted a Japanese Defense Ministry paper published last month that stressed the need to boost the strength and range of forces required to protect Japan's far-flung territories.

The paper specifically called for a "comprehensive containment capability" to counter ballistic missile threats from North Korea.

"This is a provocative claim negating the root cause of the escalating regional tension," according to the KCNA. "It is nothing but a broad hoax of Japan to justify its moves to turn it into a military giant which have gone beyond the danger line."

   The commentary argued that "loudmouth" warnings about the missile and nuclear threat from North Korea were aimed at diverting international attention from efforts by Shinzo Abe's conservative government to ditch Japan's pacifist constitution.

"The escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula and other parts in the region is mainly attributable to the United States' persistent hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea) and its military build-up in the region.

The North's official news agency said the U.S. has worked hard to disturb all conditions and environment for the DPRK's peaceful economic construction and its efforts to improve the people's living standard, a vivid expression of the former's hostile policy toward the latter.

"Japan is zealously toeing Washington's policy toward the DPRK to give spurs to its militarization and realize its ambition for overseas invasion," the KCNA said. "Japan's assertions are too unreasonable and illogical to justify its sinister aim.

"Japan would be well advised to behave with reason, aware that to do so would be beneficial to its security," it warned.

The KCNA commentary was released a day after Japan unveiled its largest warship since World War II, aimed at defending its territorial claims following maritime skirmishes with China.

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