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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 20 (September 11, 2008)

All Headlines 11:22 September 11, 2008


North Korea Says Progress Made in Vast Reclamation Site

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea, whose mountainous terrain lacks enough arable land, showed progress in one of its vast nature reclamation projects of damming the sea in a northwest area, a North's state-run radio broadcaster said on Sept. 4.

The (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) said the workers of the North Pyongan Provincial Tideland Reclamation have accomplished the construction of the No. 1 dyke at a reclamation site on Taegye islet, following the completion of the No. 2 and 4 dykes in July last year. Only No. 3 is left to be constructed now in the whole tideland area.

Such great work was due to the encouragement of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who gave field guidance last June for the large-scale reclamation of 8,700 ha of tideland, including areas in the counties of Cholsan, Sonchon and Kwaksan, the KCBS said.

Kim then said, "In order to satisfactorily settle the food problem, it is necessary to make the best use of the existing cultivated land and, at the same time, obtain more areas of new land."

The dykes of Taegye islet were destroyed by a tsunami in 1997, and the restoration work has been ongoing ever since.

The Management Bureau of the North Pyongan Provincial Tideland Reclamation has reclaimed many tidelands, including those on Tasa Islet and Pidan Islet.

Another feat for reclamation touted by the North is the Kumsong Upturned Tideland of 1,300 ha in South Pyongan Province, which was completed by youth workers in 2005.


North Korea Slams Japan for Its Territorial Claim to Dokdo

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Sept. 4 lambasted Japan for describing Dokdo, a set of rocky islets of the South in the East Sea, as its territory in its updated defense white paper, saying Japan is trying to reinvade the Korean Peninsula by making a stronghold in the "disputed" islets.

The North's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri, which means "by-our-nation-itself," said Korean people can never tolerate the provocative act by Japan, adding that Dokdo clearly belongs to Korea historically, geographically, and by international law.

The report came in response to Japan's latest published defense white paper, which says the dispute over Dokdo's ownership between South Korea and Japan remains unsettled.

The South's government summoned two officials at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to deliver its protest message.

But the North, which has sided with the South in claiming that Dokdo belongs to Korean territory, criticized Seoul's reaction as "passive." Seoul's stance of calm countermeasures and differentiating Dokdo from other South Korean-Japan relations is "tantamount to treason to the whole Korean nation," said the commentary.

Japan grabbed Dokdo in 1905 after its victory in war with Russia, and before colonizing the Korean Peninsula five years later. Korea was liberated in 1945, and was divided soon after by the U.S. and the then USSR.


N. Korea, Mongolia Celebrate New Computer Center in Ulan Bator

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A computer center dedicated to honoring relations between North Korea and Mongolia has opened in Ulan Bator, the North's official media reported on Sept. 6.

"An opening ceremony of the Mongolia-DPRK Friendship Computer Center was held in Ulan Bator on Aug. 29," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, monitored in Seoul.

However, the KCNA did not mention the size of the center or which side contributed more financially.

North Korea closed its embassy in Mongolia in 1999 amid an economic crisis that forced the regime to shut down nearly 20 embassies overseas, according to the South Korean government.

But the socialist North reopened its embassy in Ulan Bator in 2004 and its No. 2 leader, Kim Yong-nam, traveled to Mongolia last year.

"Relations between the two countries are more successfully developing in various fields," the head of a Mongolian development fund was quoted as saying in a speech. The official was only identified as S. Surenjav.

The report also said other high-level Mongolian officials were present to celebrate the opening, while North Korea's ambassador to Mongolia and other embassy officials also attended the event.

The two countries have been increasing economic cooperation recently. Mongolia has abundant resources but its economy suffers from the country's low population. Its legislature ratified a deal earlier this year legalizing the importation of North Korean workers, according to Mongolian media.


N. Korea Blasts Planned Incheon Landing Reenactment Event

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state-run media on Sept. 6 blasted plans by the South Korean Marine Corps to reenact the 1950 Incheon amphibious landing.

The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) monitored in Seoul, said the event planned for Sept. 9 in the port city is a traitorous act against the Korean people, and a clear sign of the true nature of the new conservative government.

The KCNA claimed the so-called reenactment was in fact an amphibious exercise involving several warships, helicopters and armored vehicles.

"The exercise is an overt praise of the United States and showed Seoul was a collaborator in efforts to invade the North," the KCNA alleged.

The landings that took place from Sept. 15 through 28 involved 70,000 United Nations troops led by the United States, and over 200 ships. The operation that helped recapture Seoul, disrupted supply lines reaching North Korean troops along the Nakdong perimeter, causing them to fall back.

The Marine Corps said two warships, 26 armored amphibious assault vehicles, two military air-cushion craft and 10 helicopters will take part in the reenactment. A total of 375 soldiers are to land on the beach in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul.


N. Korea to Issue Commemorative Coins for 60th Founding Anniversary

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea will issue two new sets of coins in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its founding which falls on Sept. 9, the country's media reported on Sept. 8.

The Presidium of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, the North's parliament, adopted a decree on Sept. 6 on the issuance of gold and silver commemorative coins, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"The Cabinet and concerned state agencies will work on measures to carry out the decree," the KCNA added.

The coins will feature the country's national flag and (North) Korean letters reading "60th birthday" held up by a laurel tree on one side with the North's national emblem on the other, according to the report.

The face value of the gold and silver coins will be 60,000 North Korean won (US$428) and 1,500 won, respectively, the report said.

North Korea has tried to drum up festivity ahead of its 60th birthday, decorating Pyongyang's main streets and staging mass gymnastic displays, including Arirang, in the capital every day since last month.


North Korea Takes Pride in Itself for Diamond Jubilee

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's mouthpiece took pride in the socialist state on the occasion of the North's diamond jubilee of its founding, saying it has nothing to fear because it has survived many ordeals that have tested its ability to survive as a state for the past six decades.

Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' party, said in its long editorial on Sept. 8, a day before the 60th anniversary, "May the 'Kimilsung Korea' long live and prosper," adding that the North has overcome all kind of provocations, sanctions and containment through both the hot and cold wars of the past period. Kim Il-sung founded the North by consolidating power in 1948.

The organ identified the history of the North as that of justice in human history, saying the secret reason for the victory by the North -- despite the collapse of the socialist bloc -- was the might of the single-hearted unity around Suryong (Supreme Leader) Kim Il-sung. "Such unity is the greatest national power, stronger than nuclear weapons," it said.

The newspaper said Kim Jong-il made the senior Kim everlasting president even after his father's death in 1994 as the focus for the unchanging unity of the nation while holding high the banner of Songun (military-first) politics.

"Now the Republic will not be the last coast to be reached by capitalism, as the mouthpieces of imperialists say, but the first coast from which socialism will overwhelm the earth in the 21st century," it said, stressing again that death-defying unity around the headquarters of the revolution is the most important thing to guarantee prosperity beyond the proud 60 years that have passed so far.

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