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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 66 (August 6, 2009)

All Headlines 10:38 August 06, 2009

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea Steps Up Modernization of Western Port

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is gearing up to modernize a western sea port located near an area known to be a reservoir of underground natural resources, according to a Pyongyang-based radio broadcaster.

A rally was held on July 29 at Tanchon Port in South Hamgyong Province to boost resolve for development of the area into "a modern port for foreign trade," Radio Pyongyang said.

Tanchon, where the Komdok Mining Complex is located, is known as a nonferrous mineral production base. The modernization plan began at the behest of North korean leader Kim Jong-il, the report added. Kim inspected the area twice this year and is known to have shown much interest in the plan.

Minister of Land and Marine Transport Ra Dong-hui attended the rally in a show of Pyongyang's support for the plan.

Speakers at the event emphasized that construction of a modern trade port in the Tanchon area is a significant part of the national goal of building an economically powerful nation and improving quality of life by laying the ground work for the development of marine transportation and foreign trade, according to the broadcast.

North Korea has placed particular emphasis on the development of the Tanchon Port since the late 1990s though little progress has been made.


N.K. Movie Industry Vows Increased Role in Economic Campaign

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's movie industry vowed on July 30 to help boost a nationwide economic campaign by making more films displaying "the greatness" and "superiority" of the socialist nation and its leader, state media reported.

The pledge was made during a rally held at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang and came in response to leader Kim Jong-il's call for making "a new great revolutionary upsurge," the North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station and Radio Pyongyang said.

Present at the meeting were Choe Ik-gyu, director of the propaganda and agitation department of the Workers' party, and Ri Sang-tae, a chief secretary of the State Film Commission.

Speakers credited Kim Jong-il with teaching officials how to set aflame "the fire of film revolution in the Songun (military-first) era," praising a new North Korean film series titled "A country that I saw," according to the reports.

Ranking government and party officials on July 27 reportedly attended a preview of the second and third sequels to the film, which was apparently made on the instruction of the state's reclusive leader.


N. Korea Calls for Women's Increased Role in Economic Campaign

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on July 30 called for an increased role for women in an ongoing short-term economic campaign and the construction of a thriving nation as it marked the anniversary of a gender equality law.

"Now is a turbulent period in which the entire nation is waging a vigorous 150-day campaign to expedite a victory in the construction of a strong, prosperous and powerful country," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper of the Workers' Party said in an editorial dedicated to the 63rd anniversary of the promulgation of the law.

Minju Joson, publication of the Cabinet, made a similar call in a commemorative editorial.

It called on the country's women to "more dynamically wage the all-out charge to build a thriving nation full of faith in sure victory and optimism and demonstrate the revolutionary spirit of the Korean women."

On the anniversary, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il made an on-spot guidance tour to Pyongyang Textile Mill, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

In the tour apparently aimed to encourage female employees there, Kim "underlined the need to bring about a fresh turn in solving the problem of clothing by exerting great efforts for the production of textiles."

Following the promulgation of the Law on Sex Equality on July 30, 1946, North Korea stipulated in article 77 of the Socialist Constitution that women have the same social status and rights as men.


Democratic Reunification Front Chairwoman Dies

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Ryo Won-gu, the daughter of a big-name South Korean communist politician and North Korea's social leader, has died aged 81, North Korea's state media said on July 31.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il "sent a wreath to the bier of Ryo Won-gu, deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK (North Korea) and Presidium member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, on July 31 expressing deep condolences over her death," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The KCNA, however, did not mention the exact date and cause of death.

Born in November 1928 as the third daughter of Ryo Un-hyong, she studied for eight years from 1946 in Moscow. She worked as a professor of the Kimchaek University of Technology for years from 1954 and became a vice minister of education in 1991.

In 1998, she was named chairwoman of the Democratic Front, a quasi-government anti-Seoul operational body. A three-term deputy to the North's rubber-stamp parliament SPA, Ryo worked for nine and a half years as a vice-chairwoman of the SPA from September 1998.

She frequently showed up in major inter-Korean events, including receptions and meetings held on the sidelines of the 2000 and 2007 summit talks.

In 2002, she visited Seoul to attend a joint celebration of the common anniversary marking Korea's liberation from the Japanese colonial rule. Korea was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

Her elder sister Ryo Yon-gu also served as a vice-chairwoman of the SPA and died in September 1996.

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