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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 May 15, 2020

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korean leader sends congratulatory message to Putin

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the North's state news agency reported.

Kim expressed the belief that friendly relations between the two countries would steadily develop and wished that Putin can achieve victory in preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

In Russia, the virus has killed more than 1,700 people and infected more than 187,000.

Xi sends response message to N.K. leader, vows to further bolster relations

SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, vowing to "propel the steady advance and development" of relations between the two countries, Pyongyang's state media reported Sunday.

Xi's "verbal message" came in response to a message that Kim sent last week to congratulate and praise China for successfully stemming the spread of the new coronavirus, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency.

KCNA quoted Xi as saying that Kim's message showed the "deep feelings" the North has toward China and "displayed the solid foundation of the traditional China-DPRK friendship and its tremendous vitality," according to KCNA.

N.K. paper urges all-out efforts to maximize rice production

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Monday called for all-out efforts to maximize rice production this year, saying sufficient food production is instrumental in achieving a "frontal breakthrough" against challenges confronting the country.

North Korean media outlets have called for a frontal breakthrough by securing "self-reliance" in many areas, including food production, since leader Kim Jong-un called for such efforts late last year in order to brace for a protracted fight against sanctions by the United States.

"Whether to succeed in our frontal breakthrough strategy hinges heavily on how much we could consolidate the achievement we have already made in securing a high yield (of grains)," the paper said.

N.K. paper calls for military's active role in major construction, economic growth

SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper urged its military to spearhead major construction projects and economic development Thursday, calling it a "pillar" for the country and a "faithful servant" for the public that should fully carry out its obligations.

North Korea has demanded nationwide efforts to tackle many challenges facing the country head-on and secure self-reliance in all areas as it is bracing for a long fight against sanctions amid a deadlock in denuclearization talks with the United States.

"Our people's military should become the flag bearer and shock troops ... raising the slogan high that it will take the lead both in protection of its fatherland and construction of socialism," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, said.

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