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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 June 07, 2019

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

Kim inspects factories in first public activity in more than 3 weeks

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected machinery factories and other economic facilities in Jagang Province bordering China, in his first public activities in more than three weeks, Pyongyang's state media reported Saturday.

Since Kim oversaw the launch of short-range missiles on May 9, he had not appeared in the North's state media, sparking rumors that he could be suffering from some health problem, such as diabetes or hypertension.

The North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that he inspected the Kanggye General Tractor Plant, Kanggye General Precision Machine Plant, Jangjagang Machine Tool Factory and February 8 General Machine Factory. They are key defense factories.

Kim Jong-un appears in public two days in row

SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made an inspection visit to a machinery factory, the country's official news agency said Sunday, one day after he made his first public appearance in more than three weeks.

Kim, who had been out of public view since the North conducted short-range missile launches on May 9, resumed public activity with a visit to Kanggye General Tractor Plant and other factories, according to a Korean Central News Agency report on Saturday.

On Sunday, KCNA reported that Kim paid another "field guidance" trip, to Phyongnam General Machine Plant.

N.K. state TV urges people to secure water for rice planting amid record drought

SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state TV on Sunday called on people to secure water and promptly finish planting rice, saying that there has been no sign of an easing of the drought in certain regions of the country.

A senior official at the Academy of Agricultural Science made the remark in an interview with the North's Korean Central Television, noting that precipitation in the country's southwestern region was near zero late last month.

Citing a weather forecast, the official said not enough rain is expected to fall in the southern region in the early days of June.

Top aide to N.K. leader appears in public despite rumors of purge

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- A top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watched an art troupe's performance together with the leader, Pyongyang's state media reported Monday, belying rumors that he was purged for the leader's embarrassing no-deal summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Yong-chol, who served as Pyongyang's chief interlocutor and counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, attended Sunday's performance by amateur art groups made up of the wives of military officers, together with leader Kim and other top officials, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The report came after rumors of a purge spiked following a news report that leader Kim had carried out a massive punishment of officials responsible for the no-deal summit and that Kim Yong-chol was given hard labor and another negotiator was executed.

N.K. newspaper calls for preventive measures against spread of African swine fever

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean state newspaper has urged people to take preventive measures against the spread of African swine fever, saying an outbreak of the disease in areas near the country is causing great concerns.

In a contribution to the Minju Joson, the organ of the North's cabinet, on Sunday, the head of a veterinary lab under the Academy of Agricultural Science said the disease is causing "extensive damage" in the livestock industry across the globe.

North Korea reported the outbreak of the disease at a farm in the northern Jagang Province bordering China to the World Organization for Animal Health last week, but state media outlets have made no mention of it so far.

NK leader's younger sister reemerges after 52-day absence

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful younger sister has appeared in public for the first time in 52 days, contradicting rumors that she was disciplined in the wake of the leader's embarrassing no-deal summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Yo-jong attended North Korea's propaganda group gymnastics and artist performance called "The Land of the People" on Monday, along with leader Kim, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

It marked the first time that Kim Yo-jong has appeared in public since she was last seen in North Korean media during the Supreme People's Assembly in April.

Minister says talks under way with WFP over food aid to N. Korea

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Tuesday that discussions with the World Food Programme (WFP) are under way over possible food aid to North Korea, in a possible sign that the government might have opted to send food via the international agency instead of direct shipment.

Kim made the remark during a meeting with foreign correspondents in Seoul, as the government is reviewing providing North Korea with food assistance in response to reports that it is facing worsening food shortages.

"Regarding the food aid, we are continuing to have detailed discussions with the WFP," Kim said according to pool reports.

N. Korea urges U.S. to change calculus, warns patience has limit

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged the United States to drop its "current way of calculation" and make a new proposal to resume their stalled denuclearization talks, warning that its patience is wearing thin.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, a spokesperson for the North's foreign ministry said that the U.S. should think about what would be a "correct strategic choice" to keep alive the agreements they reached during their first-ever summit in June last year.

"Whether the June 12 DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement will remain effective or turn out to be a mere blank sheet of paper will now be determined by how the U.S. would respond to our fair and reasonable stand," the spokesperson said in the statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

N.K. leader makes public appearances five days in a row

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a photo session with the winners of a recent art contest, the country's official news agency said Wednesday, apparently extending his public appearances to a fifth consecutive day.

Kim had the photo session on Tuesday with "members of amateur art groups of the wives of officers of units of the Korean People's Army" who were selected from a contest, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"He expressed the expectation and belief that the art group members will as ever add brilliance to the proud tradition of having strengthened the defense line posts of the country into impregnable fortresses with loving care and devotion for servicepersons," the report said.

N. Korean newspaper calls for preventing spread of African swine fever

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper on Wednesday urged people to make all-out efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever but remained silent on an outbreak in the country's northern region.

North Korea reported to the World Organization of Animal Health last week the outbreak of African swine fever at a farm in Jagang Province bordering China. North Korean media outlets have been running reports on the dangers of the disease but have yet to directly mention its presence in the country.

Carrying an interview with an official at a veterinary lab, the Rodong Sinmun again warned the public of the hazards of the disease, although it stopped short of announcing the outbreak.

N. Korea may suspend propaganda show after Kim voices dissatisfaction: tour agencies

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea may suspend a propaganda group gymnastics and artistic performance next week after its leader Kim Jong-un recently expressed dissatisfaction over its content and format, tour agencies specializing in trips to the North said Wednesday.

Citing anonymous sources, China-based Young Pioneer Tours said on its website that the performance, titled "The Land of the People," could be suspended from Monday due to Kim's dissatisfaction with it.

Koryo Tours, another Beijing-based tour agency specializing in North Korea travels, also said on its website that the performance could be suspended from Monday for days or weeks.

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