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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

North Korea 16:00 July 12, 2019

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea accuses expelled Australian student of spying: KCNA

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- An Australian student in Pyongyang was detained for spying last month and admitted his "anti-state" activities, North Korean state media said Saturday, two days after his expulsion from the communist nation.

Alek Sigley, a 29-year-old university student in Pyongyang, was reported missing in late June, but he was released on Thursday and left the North Korean capital the same day.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the Australian had passed on data and photos on the domestic situation to "the NK News and other anti-DPRK media" and was caught by the North Korean authorities on June 25.

(LEAD) S. Korean son of late N.K. party chairwoman arrives in Pyongyang for permanent residence

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean son of Ryu Mi-yong, the late chairwoman of a North Korean minor political party, has arrived in Pyongyang to live in the communist country for good, a North Korean propaganda media outlet said Sunday.

Ryu and her husband, Choe Tok-sin, who served as foreign minister in South Korea during the 1960s, emigrated to the United States in 1976 and defected to the North in 1986, leaving behind two sons and three daughters.

In the North, Ryu served as chairwoman of the central committee of the Chondoist Chongu Party. She died of lung cancer at age 95 in November 2016.

N. Korea calls for self-reliant economy on late founder's death anniversary

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Monday urged its people to build a powerful economy based on the principle of "self-reliance" as the communist state marks the 25th anniversary of founding leader Kim Il-sung's death.

Kim Il-sung, who founded North Korea in 1948, died of a heart attack in 1994, and his son, Kim Jong-il, took over as leader. Kim Jong-il also died of a heart attack in late 2011, and one of his sons, Kim Jong-un, succeeded him as leader in the communist country's second hereditary succession of power.

"Today's grand advance in economic development is (the continuation of) a sacred and rewarding struggle of our great leaders to realize their aspirations for a patriotic and powerful country," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the country's ruling party, said in an editorial.

Kim visits national mausoleum on founding leader's death anniversary

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a national mausoleum, as the communist state marked the anniversary of the death of founding leader Kim Il-sung, Pyongyang's state media reported Monday.

The palace is where the embalmed bodies of the founder and his son Kim Jong-il lie in state.

Accompanying the leader to the mausoleum were senior government and party officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's rubber-stamp parliament, and premier Kim Jae-ryong, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

N. Korea slams Japan's export curbs as 'shameless' act

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's media Monday slammed Japan's recent restriction on high-tech exports to South Korea, calling the measure a "shameless" act that indicates a lack of remorse for Tokyo's historical wrongdoings against the Korean people.

Japan began to tighten regulations last week on shipments to South Korea of three materials essential to the production of semiconductors and display panels.

South Korea suspects the move may be retaliation for a Seoul court's order for Japanese firms to compensate Koreans who were forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

N. Korea-Russia border trade nearly triples in Q1 on improving ties

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's trade with Russia's Far Eastern region nearly tripled in the first quarter from a year earlier, data showed Tuesday, amid intensifying efforts by the two neighbors to strengthen bilateral relations.

According to the data by South Korea's Consulate General in Vladivostok, the trade between the North and Russia's Far Eastern region totaled US$10.69 million during the January-March period, up from $3.72 million tallied a year earlier.

Russia's exports to the North came to $10.67 million, while the North's exports to the Russian border region amounted to $20,000, the data showed.

N. Korea faces worse-than-expected decline in wheat, barley harvest: report

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's production of wheat and barley is expected to fall further than previously feared, a report showed Wednesday, raising worries that the impoverished state's already serious food shortages could get worse.

GEOGLAM, a Switzerland-based crop monitoring organization, said in the report that it had expected the North's harvest of wheat and barley to fall about 20 percent this year, compared with previous years, but the situation appears to be worse than expected.

"Recent information from the (North Korean) government suggests that final yields may be even lower due to below-average and poorly dispersed rainfall during the season as well as irrigation water shortages and lack of inputs," GEOGLAM said.

N.K. propaganda outlet says recent Kim-Trump meeting signals history of reconciliation, peace

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet said Wednesday the recent impromptu meeting between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump shows that unimaginable things can happen if the two sides trust each other.

Kim and Trump met at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on June 30 after Kim accepted a surprise invitation from Trump a day earlier. Trump briefly crossed the border into the North, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

The two leaders held talks and agreed to resume the stalled denuclearization negotiations.

N. Korean media warn prolonged drought affecting rice, other crop growth

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean news media warned Wednesday that a prolonged, severe drought could seriously damage its harvests of rice and other crops this year.

"Drought and high temperatures have been persisting in the west coast and middle inland areas," the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

The phenomenon is affecting crops in North and South Hwanghae and South Pyongan provinces, as well as the city of Nampo and other areas, according to the report.

N. Korea's official newspaper highlights 'inseparable' relations with China

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper highlighted its "inseparable" relations with China on Thursday as they mark the 58th anniversary of signing a mutual defense treaty.

The two countries signed the treaty on July 11, 1961, under which they are obliged to provide military and other assistance to each other, a deal seen as the bedrock of their strong alliance for decades.

"Today's international environment requires the people of North Korea and China to work to advance the North Korea-China relations more greatly in line with the stream of the times," the Rodong Sinmun said in an article. "This is the obligation of the people of the two countries."

N. Korea changes constitution to make Kim Jong-un official head of state

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has revised its constitution to stipulate that leader Kim Jong-un is the official head of state, according to a state media outlet.

The new constitution, revised in April's Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) session, states that the chairman of the State Affairs Commission (SAC), the communist state's highest seat of power, serves as its supreme leader that "represents the country," according to Naenara, a North Korean propaganda website.

Kim rules the North as chairman of the State Affairs Commission.

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