1. Domestic Affairs
Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il met
Konstantin Borisovich Pulikovski, Plenipotentiary Representative of President
Putin to the Far East Federal District. (Feb. 11 and 12) The North Korean leader
also met Wu Donghua, newly appointed Chinese ambassador to North Korea. (Feb.
Various events were held to mark Chairman Kim's 60th
birthday. (Feb. 9 to 16) They included the Feb. 16 official ceremony in
Pyongyang to celebrate his birthday (Feb. 15 at the April 25 House of Culture);
the 13th National Youth Loyalty Festival; the Paektusan Cup Sports Games,
performance contests of art circles, the computer graphics contest (Feb. 11); a
rally to vow loyalty to Kim compared to the sun of the 21st century, the 6th
exhibition of Kim Jong-il flowers (Feb. 13); a rally at a secret camp in Mt.
Paektu to mark Kim's Feb. 16 birthday, a ceremony to award honorary medals and
titles (Feb. 14); an evening party by the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces,
the opening of the 11th Paektusan Cup International Figure Skating Festival.
2. South Korean Relations
A spokesman of the North side of the National Alliance for the
Country's Reunification (Pomminryon) issued a statement (Feb. 13), attacking the
South Korean government's imprisonment from the South counterpart and urging
their release. "The South Korean judiciary authorities should repeal their
unfair rulings against officials of the Pomminryon South side, release them
immediately and guarantee their freedom of just and patriatic activities for the
sake of the national reunification," the statement said.
Rodong Sinmun, an official newspaper of the Workers'
Party, also ran a similar commentary titled "Anti-reunification elements'
traitorous and evil acts." (Feb. 11)
North Korea denounced Lee Hoi-chang, leader of the South
Korean Grand National Party, for his anti-North Korean remarks during his visit
to the United States, and the Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean vernacular newspaper,
for its article critical of North Korea's "Arirang' performance. (Feb. 9 to 10)
North Korean news media reported some South Korean social
groups' protest against U.S. President Bush's forthcoming visit to South Korea.
3. External affairs
Pyongyang Broadcasting Station denounced President Bush's
scheduled visit to Seoul from Feb. 19 to 21 and his remark on the "axis of evil"
in his State of the Union address. "Bush's visit to South Korea is an act to
escalate tension, provoke war on the Korean Peninsula and block our national
reconciliation and unity," the station reported on Feb. 15.
Rodong Sinmun claimed in a commentary titled "Perilous
military collusion" on Feb. 13 that Japan was involved in the international
terrorism. The party propaganda media also denounced Japan's move to hold a
strategic dialogue with the United States on the Korean issues.
Russian President Putin and the Central Committee of the
Chinese Communist Party sent their congratulatory messages to Chairman Kim for
his birthday. (Feb. 16).