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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 April 16, 2021

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea marks 9th anniversary of Kim Jong-un's leadership with call for loyalty

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged its people to stay faithful to leader Kim Jong-un as it marked the ninth anniversary of his assumption of top posts of its ruling party and the state Sunday amid economic woes from crippling sanctions.

It, however, did not have any major events, including the national ceremony, to celebrate the anniversary apparently because of the new coronavirus pandemic and as Pyongyang tends to mark only every fifth or 10th anniversary with large-scale events.

"We celebrate the 9th anniversary of the election of Comrade Kim Jong-un as the leader of our party and nation," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party, said in an editorial.

N. Korea urges economic guidance organs to take full responsibility in implementing development plans

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged economic guidance organs to take full responsibility in implementing economic development plans as it held a Cabinet meeting to review the country's first-quarter production results, state media said Monday.

The enlarged session of the plenary meeting of the Cabinet took place via video links Sunday, with Premier Kim Tok-hun presiding over the meeting and Vice Premier Pak Jong-gun making a report on the economic performance in the first quarter, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"The report cited facts to analyze and review the shortcomings and deviations observed in implementing the plan for the first quarter of the first year of the new five-year plan, and stressed the need for economic guidance organs to wage powerful struggle against the acts of avoiding responsibilities and approaching the implementation of the plan in a formalistic way," the KCNA said.

N. Korea urges 'cell secretaries' to spearhead efforts to strengthen Kim's leadership

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged grassroots leaders of the ruling Workers' Party to be at the forefront of efforts to strengthen the leadership of Kim Jong-un, state media said Monday.

During a workshop of the secretaries of party cells held from Friday to Sunday, the North also called for rooting out anti-socialist practices, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"The lecturers said that the work of establishing the unified leadership system of the General Secretary is the most important work facing our revolution to which all the organizations of the whole Party including Party cells should put primary efforts and that there can never be perfection in this work and there must never be even an inch of concession and deviation in it," the KCNA said.

N. Korea holds celebrations for founder's birthday in show of confidence in coronavirus handling

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to be showing "confidence" in handling the global coronavirus pandemic as it is holding various celebrations to mark this week's birth anniversary of its late state founder, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

North Korea's state media outlets have reported various cultural and sports events to mark the 109th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un, on Thursday. This comes in contrast with last year when major celebrations were cancelled amid concerns over the coronavirus.

"The North appears to be showing confidence in keeping situations linked to the coronavirus under control enough to hold large-sale events when they are considered necessary for the country," the ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

N.K. propaganda website denounces S. Korea's weapon purchase plan as preparation for invasion

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Wednesday denounced South Korea's recent decision to deploy new attack helicopters and destroyers as part of preparations for a long-sought invasion of the North.

Last month, South Korea announced that it will import around 36 large combat choppers by 2028 and build next-generation Aegis-equipped destroyers as part of efforts to beef up its national defense capability.

"The South Korean military is focused recklessly on strengthening its armed forces now," Meari, a North Korean propaganda website, said. "It aims to accelerate its long-sought preparations for a northward invasion."

Pro-N.K. paper slams Japan's decision to release contaminated Fukushima water into sea

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- A pro-North Korea newspaper on Wednesday denounced Japan's decision to dump contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, calling it a "crime against humanity."

Tokyo earlier announced a plan to release more than 1.2 million tons radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean amid criticism from its local fishery industry and neighboring countries.

"It is a crime against humanity to justify themselves for reasons of cost when they have other options that don't involve releasing the water," the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan, said.

N.K. propaganda outlet decries S. Korea's mayoral elections as 'backward' politics

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Wednesday criticized South Korea's recent mayoral elections as an example of "backward" politics, saying the races were marred by mudslinging and negative campaigning.

Last week's mayoral by-elections in Seoul and the southeastern city of Busan ended with the ruling Democratic Party's crushing defeat after the campaigns were dominated by alleged real estate speculation and criticism of the Moon Jae-in administration's real estate policy.

Tongil Voice, a North Korean propaganda radio broadcast, slammed the elections as a "rampage of madmen crazy for power" and criticized the mayoral candidates for defaming each other with words like "trash" and "severe dementia."

N. Korea's new ambassador to China presents credentials to Xi

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new ambassador to China has presented his credentials to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the North's main newspaper reported Thursday.

While presenting his credentials Wednesday, Ambassador Ri Ryong-nam conveyed leader Kim Jong-un's warm greetings to Xi and the Chinese leader also asked the envoy to send his greetings to Kim, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party.

Presenting credentials is a customary procedure before foreign ambassadors begin official duty.

N. Korea marks late founder's birthday with celebrations, no signs of provocations yet

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea marked the birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung with performances and other celebratory events, according to state media Thursday, but no signs of provocations have been detected.

Thursday marks the 109th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. The anniversary, referred to in the North as the Day of the Sun, is the country's biggest national holiday and has often been marked with massive military parades and other provocative acts.

This year's celebrations appear to be larger than those of last year, when the North canceled almost all major events as it struggled to fight the global coronavirus pandemic, but similar in scale to previous years.

N. Korea slams Japan over decision to release contaminated Fukushima water

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday denounced Japan's decision to release contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, demanding immediate withdrawal of the decision to prevent a "new catastrophe for the humanity."

On Wednesday, Tokyo approved the plan to dump more than 1 million tons of radioactive water from the wrecked nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, sparking strong criticism from its local fishing industry and neighboring countries such as South Korea and China.

"Japan is to bring a new catastrophe to the humanity which has been suffering from a global malignant infectious disease," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in commentary. "It should withdraw the decision immediately."

N.K. leader visits mausoleum to mark birth anniversary of late national founder

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a mausoleum of his late grandfather and national founder Kim Il-sung to mark his birth anniversary, state media reported Friday.

Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on Thursday on the occasion of the 109th birth anniversary, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The mausoleum is where the bodies of his late grandfather and father lie in state.

"Kim Jong-un, together with his wife, paid high tribute to the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and extended the best wishes of immortality at the halls where the President and the Chairman lie in state," the KCNA said.

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