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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 June 05, 2020

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea backs China's Hong Kong security legislation as 'legitimate step'

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- A spokesperson of North Korea's foreign ministry backed China's controversial security legislation for Hong Kong Saturday, calling it a "legitimate step" and voicing opposition to "outside interference."

In an answer to a question from the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the spokesperson also said that any country has no right to "say this or that" about the issue concerning the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

On Thursday, China's legislature approved a proposal for the security law legislation, which critics fear could pave the way for Beijing to tighten its grip on Hong Kong and weaken the territory's autonomy by bolstering security operations there.

N.K. newspaper belatedly reports on death of Army general

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean newspaper carried a report Saturday on the 2018 death of a senior military officer who led an Army corps linked to the deadly artillery shelling of a South Korean border island a decade ago.

The Rodong Sinmun, the daily of the North's ruling Workers' Party, reported that Ri Song-guk, who led the 4th Corps in charge of defending the areas near the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea, the inter-Korean maritime boundary, died in October 2018. He was 52.

Ri, who took command of the corps in early 2013, had received treatment at a hospital in Pyongyang and another overseas after having caught an incurable disease in 2018, according to the newspaper.

N. Korea's state broadcaster reports on George Floyd's death

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state broadcaster on Saturday reported on the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died while being restrained by police.

In its regular news program aired at 8 p.m., the North's Korean Central Television said that "a murder of a black person by a white police officer occurred on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota."

The state broadcaster showed a video explaining the case and said that "actions of complaint condemning the police's racist action against black people" have broken out there.

N.K. propaganda outlet says protest growing against new interceptor missiles on THAAD base

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Sunday reported on new interceptor missiles brought into a U.S. THAAD missile defense base in South Korea, saying local residents are condemning the South's defense ministry for helping the transport.

Replacement interceptors were brought onto the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense base in the central town of Seongju in a surprise overnight operation, sparking angry protests from local residents.

Tongil Voice, a North Korean propaganda radio broadcast, criticized the replacement missiles, saying "voices have grown among all sectors in South Korea condemning the defense ministry for supporting the entry of equipments in the U.S. army base Seongju."

N. Korea seeks to have Mount Paekdu listed as UNESCO global geopark

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is actively seeking to enlist the country's sacred Mount Paekdu as a UNESCO global geopark, state media reported Sunday.

"Scientists in relevant fields of the DPRK made scientific proof of its geological features and world value through scores of years-long survey and research," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said, stressing the mountain's rich biodiversity and geological significance.

DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

N. Korea to open schools from early June after monthslong delay amid virus fears

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to begin reopening schools nationwide in phases early this month after months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported Monday.

Schools in North Korea were supposed to start new semesters in early April, but the vacation period has been extended repeatedly due to the coronavirus pandemic, though some colleges and high schools were allowed to open in mid-April.

"Preventive measures have been enforced in a way that elementary, middle and high schools start their semesters, and nurseries and kindergartens can begin resuming their operations in early June," according to the North's state radio.

N. Korea encourages non-face-to-face services amid coronavirus fears

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is encouraging non-face-to-face services at restaurants and grocery stores, such as picking up to-go orders, as part of precautions against the new coronavirus, according to Pyongyang's state media on Monday.

Korean Central Broadcasting Station, the North's radio broadcaster, said the country is trying to improve customer services "to provide more convenience in accordance with the virus prevention measures in many districts including Pyongyang."

"We are also guaranteeing convenient lifestyles to our people such as encouraging 'order services' in restaurants and grocery stores," it said.

N. Korea seems to have renamed ministry in charge of policing

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to have renamed a ministry in charge of policing, a state media report showed Wednesday, apparently in a follow-up to decisions made during a recent major party meeting handling organizational issues.

Reporting on the ongoing construction of a general hospital in Pyongyang, a state radio station said that large-scale support activities for the project have been executed by the Ministry of Social Security.

It was the first time North Korean media mentioned the ministry, and it is presumed to be the new name for the Ministry of People's Security, which is roughly equivalent to South Korea's National Police Agency.

N.K. leader stresses close relations with Cuba in birthday message to Raul Castro

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent a birthday message to Raul Castro, the first secretary of Cuba's communist party, stressing "strategic" and "comradely" relations between the two countries, state media reported Wednesday.

"The message extended warm comradely greetings to Raul Castro Ruz with best wishes on his 89th birthday," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"It expressed the belief that the strategic and comradely relations of friendship and cooperation between the two parties and two countries based on a long history and tradition will be invariably carried forward and developed," it added.

N. Korean schools reopen during pandemic

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Schools across Norea Korea reopened on Wednesday after months of delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Uriminzokkiri Television, Pyongyang's propaganda station, showed a 90-second clip of students at an elementary school in the North Korean capital returning to classrooms.

Schools in North Korea were supposed to start new semesters in early April, but the vacation period was extended repeatedly due to the coronavirus pandemic, though some colleges and high schools were allowed to open in mid-April.

N.K. threatens to scrap military agreement unless Seoul takes action against anti-Pyongyang leaflets

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister threatened Thursday to scrap a military tension reduction agreement with South Korea and shut down major exchange projects unless Seoul stops defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist nation.

Kim Yo-jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, issued the warning in a statement, adding that good faith and reconciliation can never go together with such hostile activities.

"Clearly speaking, the South Korean authorities will be forced to pay a dear price if they let this situation go on while making sort of excuses," she said in the statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

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