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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 31 (November 27, 2008)

All Headlines 10:56 November 27, 2008

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea Stresses Spirit of Self-Reliance

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's mouthpiece on Nov. 22 stressed the spirit of self-reliance in the face of daunting hardship to build a Kangsong Taeguk (a strong, prosperous and powerful nation) based on socialism, citing the prosperity that has sprung up in a northern border province over the past decade.

Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a long co-editorial that the nation, which is in a critical phase of opening the gate of Kangsong Taeguk, needs the so-called spirit of "Kanggye" shown by leader Kim Jong-il himself 10 years ago during the arduous march, when the North suffered from famine and natural catastrophies.

Due to the self-sacrificing leadership of Kim, who dared to go through snowstorms in the winter and windy rains in the summer to give on-site guidance in the remote mountainous province of Jagang starting 10 years ago, the province has changed into a paradise of socialism based on self-reliance, full of meat, eggs and oil, along with many power generators on the river, it said.

The editorial in the form of reportage from the province bordering China on the Amnok (Yalu) river said the people there are sad, thinking they should have stopped Kim Jong-il from coming so often and so far amid blizzards on the mountain roads.

Despite the North's official denial, Kim Jong-il is believed to have had a stroke.

"If we think of the people in Jagang Province, who are not interested in increasing individual wealth, we cannot think of whining, dependency on others, fantasies of money and trends pursuing capitalism," the editorial said, ironically reflecting some of the current atmosphere of the socialist country.


Defending Champs N. Korea Edge out Norway 3-2 in Women's World Cup

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Striker Ra Un-sim scored two goals, including the winner, to help North Korea edge out Norway 3-2 in the 2008 women's World Cup in Chile on Monday (Korean time), the organizing body said on Nov. 24.

The defending North Korean champions led Norway 2-0 by the end of the first half, but Norway came back with two goals in the second to equalize the score at 2-2. It was Ra in the 64th minute who flouted an offside trap to break the tie and close the deal, FIFA said on its Web site.

The victory at the Estadio German Becker stadium in Temuco put North Korea in second place in Group D. Brazil run at the top after defeating North Korea in the opener and Mexico in a separate match on Monday. Norway are at third.

Sixteen nations are competing in the biennial event, in which North Korea stormed to the 2006 title as debutants.

Meanwhile, North Korean girls' football team beat its U.S. rival, emerging as the winner of the FIFA U-17 Women's 2008 World Cup in New Zealand, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Nov. 16.

The girls football team arrived at the Sunan Airport on Nov. 21, the KCNA said on the next day, greeting by Kim Jung-rin, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea, and Vice Premier Kwak Pom-gi.


Kim Jong-il Visits Factories in Border Town with China

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has visited machinery and cosmetics companies in a border town with China in his second public appearance in eight days, North Korean media reported on Nov. 24.

Kim's visit to the companies in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, is the first such visit outside of Pyongyang among a series of public appearances the reclusive North Korean leader made in recent months apparently to quell rumors of his health failure.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim was satisfied that the Rakwon machinery company has achieved its production target for this year by the end of October, implying that the visit was made in early November.

North Korean media usually do not reveal the exact date and venue of Kim's public appearances.

Kim's last public appearance was reported by the KCNA on Nov. 16. At that time, Kim was reported to have viewed an artistic performance by soldiers.

Kim was absent from public view for nearly two months, from Aug. 14 to early October, triggering speculation that he suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery.

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