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All Headlines 10:59 May 22, 2008

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

China's Hu Thanks Kim Jong-il for Sympathy over Quake Disaster

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao has expressed gratitude to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for his message of condolence over the deadly earthquake that hit eastern China, the North's state TV station said on May 16.

"I sincerely express my gratitude to you for sending me a message of condolences after the earthquake disaster occurred in Sichuan Province of our country," Hu was quoted by the (North) Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station as saying in his message dated May 14.

Hu's response came a day after Kim's message, in which he said, "I hope that your people will eradicate the aftermath of the disaster as early as possible under the leadership of the Communist Party of China."

Since the quake occurred on May 12, North Korean media have closely followed the aftermath of the disaster that has claimed at least 20,000 lives in the neighboring country, which is the North's closest ally.


North Korea Offers Aid for Chinese Quake Victims

SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea has provided US$100,000 to help victims of the catastrophic earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people in China, the North's official news agency said on May 17.

"The DPRK government offered 100,000 US dollars to the Chinese government to help people in the quake-stricken areas eradicate in the aftermath of the disaster and bring their living to normal as early as possible," the Korean Central News Agency reported.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

The report said the quake caused huge human and material losses to many areas around the province, but did not elaborate further.

It is rare for the impoverished country to offer aid to another country. China is a staunch ally of the North and a major donor nation.

The 7.9 magnitude quake that hit Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province on Monday has left nearly 29,000 people dead and five million homeless, according to the Chinese government.


North Korea Expresses 'Deep' Condolences over Chinese Quake

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea expressed "deep" condolences over the recent devastating earthquake in China, displaying close ties with its neighboring ally.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il sent a message of sympathy on May 13 to Chinese President Hu Jintao upon hearing that a strong earthquake hit Wenchuan County in China's Sichuan Province, hoping Chinese people overcome the disaster at an early date, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the county in southwestern China at 2:28 p.m. Beijing time on May 12, resulting in huge human losses.

In the message, Kim said, "I hope that your people will eradicate the aftermath of the disaster as early as possible under the leadership of the Communist Party of China."

Following Kim, the North's organizations dealing with China sent messages of sympathy to their Chinese counterparts over the earthquake, according to the KCNA on May 17.

The organizations included the (North) Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the Central Committee of the DPRK (North Korea)-China Friendship Association, and the Central Committee of the Kimilsung Socialist Youth League.

Also, the KCNA on May 20 said senior party and state officials visited the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang to express condolences over the strong earthquake.

According to China's Xinhua news agency, sirens sounded at 2:28 p.m. local time on May 19 in Pyongyang, the North's capital, to mourn the earthquake victims in the same way that China mourned the victims.


Pyongyang Attempts to Incite Anti-government Struggle in Seoul

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Pyongyang on May 18 attempted to incite anti-government struggle in Seoul on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the democracy movement in the South, an act that was in line with its harsh criticism of the new conservative administration that it began in late March.

Rodong Sinmun, organ of North Korea's ruling Workers' party, said the Lee Myung-bak group is seeking to "overturn the precious achievements made in the June 15 era of reunification and reduce the South Korean society to the dark land of fascism again."

The North refers to the South's bloody government crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in May 1980 as the "Gwangju Popular Uprising."

South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak was inaugurated in late February on pledges to pull back from the rapprochement policies of his two liberal predecessors who were in office over the past decade, which the North calls "the June 15 era."

The organ asked the South Korean people to check "the anti-national and anti-reunification moves of the sycophantic traitorous forces," alluding to the Lee Myung-bak government, which has stressed closer cooperation with Washington.

In addition, the North's official Web site and broadcaster that deal with the South urged the Korean people to "resolutely smash anti-reunification moves by the pro-U.S. sycophantic traitorous forces."

Such articles targeting the South's government is in contrast to the position of the North on previous anniversaries. Since the first-ever inter-Korean summit on June 15, 2000, North Korea has blamed Washington for being in the backdrop of the crackdown.

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