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All Headlines 10:57 June 12, 2008


China Presents Four Sectors of Economic Cooperation with North Korea

SHENYANG (Yonhap) -- China has presented four major sectors in which it intends to increase economic cooperation with North Korea, Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency said on June 4.

Xinhua quoted Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK (North Korea), as saying, "The People's Republic of China (PRC) hopes to increase mutual trade and investment with North Korea, and strengthen economic cooperation in four major sectors."

According to the news agency, the four sectors include infrastructure construction, exploration and processing of mineral sources, and frontier trade.

During a reception at China's embassy in Pyongyang with North Korea's Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong-nam in attendance, Ambassador Liu emphasized that "the China-DPRK economic and trade cooperation not only benefits the peoples of both countries but also the development and prosperity of the regional economy," Xinhua said.

The four major sectors of economic cooperation presented by Liu can be seen as showing China's intention to strengthen economic cooperation with North Korea.

In March, when minister Ri visited China's embassy, Ambassador Liu said he "hopes that China and North Korea will discuss in depth about an economic cooperation based on the principles of government-led corporate involvement and market operations, and open up realistic collaboration in diverse forms that are well-suited for this new age."

In return, minister Ri said at the reception; "Under the leadership of President Hu Jintao and the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people have established a scientific outlook on development and have obtained important results in the process of constructing a peaceful society" and that "North Korea plans to further strengthen economic cooperation with China," the Chinese news agency reported.


N.Korea Registers English Firm as Country's Lobbyist in Washington

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- North Korea, which has exerted efforts to improve ties with the United States, has reportedly registered an English firm as the country's lobbyist in Washington since 2004, according to a Washington-based radio station.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) said on May 7 that the Institute for Business Development in Euro Asia Limited (IBDEAL), based in Newcastle, England, was officially registered on Sept. 21, 2004 as North Korea's lobbyist under the U.S. Department of Justice's Foreign Agents Registration Act.

However, the RFA said there have been no results since that time. To date, the British company is the only firm registered as North Korea's lobbyist.

Most registered lobbying firms in the U.S. are based in the U.S. However, North Korea's selection of a U.K.-based firm is linked to the fact that North Korea is on the U.S.'s list for terrorism-sponsoring states and is under restrictions due to the Trading with the Enemy Act.

As prescribed by the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the IBDEAL is required to report on its activities, actual results and financial situation every six months. However, it has yet to report any actual results since the firm's registration as the North's lobbyist.

The US Department of Justice explained, however, that even though the lobbying firm has not reported actual results, since the firm's name has not been deleted from the list of foreign lobbyists, the IBDEAL can maintain its status unless it voluntarily withdraws from the list.

The IBDEAL developed a relationship with the North before it was registered as North Korea's lobbying firm.

The U.S. Department of Justice's sources confirmed that the IBDEAL signed a contract with the North Korean embassy in March 2004, stating that the company would act as an intermediary for high-level meetings to bring foreign investments in the North.

The firm also agreed to oversee business operations for bringing in consultation and skills training, foreign companies, and foreign loans to North Korea.


Koreas Operated Hotline During Kim Dae-jung's Term: Ex-minister

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea operated a direct hotline between their leaders following a landmark summit in 2000 so their leaders could directly address sensitive and problematic issues, according to a memoir published on June 8 by a former minister.

The hotline between then President Kim Dae-jung and his northern counterpart Kim Jong-il was set up four days after their summit on June 15, 2000, a move which was suggested by the then president, former Unification Minister Lim Dong-won said in his memoir. Lim's work includes reflections on inter-Korean relations and North Korea's nuclear program.

Despite tension over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the 2000 summit in Pyongyang triggered a series of cross-border economic cooperation projects, including tourism and an industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong.

The hotline was in use until the very last day of Kim Dae-jung's presidency in February 2002 and it played a "very important role" in ironing out inter-Korean issues, according to Lim.

Lim recalled that North Korea, through the hotline, relayed regrets after a June 2002 incident in which armed forces from the two sides exchanged fire in the West Sea.

The memoir noted that the incident was confirmed to have occurred within the lower echelons of the military and not from orders from above. Seoul then requested through the hotline that Pyongyang issue a formal apology.

Lim also said in the memoir that Kim Jong-il in 2002 suggested holding a second inter-Korean summit in a third nation, mentioning the Russian city of Irkutsk as a possible venue, where the two leaders could possibly meet with the Russian president for talks on trans-Korean and trans-Siberian railway lines. Kim Dae-jung did not accept the offer, according to Lim.

The former minister also said that former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld outspokenly tried to block inter-Korean road and rail connection projects near the end of Kim Dae-jung's term, citing the North's highly enriched uranium-based nuclear program.

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