|1. Domestic Affairs
Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il inspected
Unit 319 of Korea People's Army (KPA) and a chicken farm No. 311 (March 11) and
encouraged troops of KPA Unit 639. So far this year, he has visited 10 KPA units
and two economic sites.
The 5th National Farmers' Basketball Tournament was held
(March 11) and the regional contests for the 15th National Arts Festival of the
Korean Democratic Women's Union began as events to celebrate the 90th birthday
of the late leader Kim Il-sung (Central Broadcasting Station reported March 15).
Other major news reports to drum up the festive mood for his birthday included
the progress of a construction project of Lake Kechon-Taesong (March 10),
productivity increase at a building materials factory (March 12) and a land
realignment project in South Hwanghae Province (March 13). Pyongyang
Broadcasting Station praised Kim Il-sung in a program entitled "Immortal
devotion to socialist movements" (March 13).
Graduates-to-be of Pyongyang high schools and middle
schools held a rally to "entreat the government to let them join the army"
(March 10) and left for the boot camp after a send-off ceremony (March 14),
Central Broadcasting and Central TV stations reported. Rodong Simun in an
editorial (March 15) called for the escalation of anti-imperialist struggle and
guerrilla-style political propaganda.
2. South Korean Relations
Vice Marshal Ri Tu-ik died (March 13)
and his funeral ceremony was held (March 15).
South and North Korean churches announced a joint Easter
prayer (March 16). "We will make our own efforts to strengthen our unity and
promote national unification this year. We also will try to establish a national
community and move up a self-reliant unification,contributing to the
implementation of Jun.15. Joint Declaration" it said.
North Korean news media highlighted anti-U.S. rallies in
South Korea, including a statement (March 9) by an outlawed South Korean
organization of anti-government college students, which denounced South Korean
and U.S. military exercises.
3. External affairs
A spokesman for the foreign ministry reacted angrily to a
(March 9) Lost Angeles Times report, quoting the Pentagon Nuclear Posture
Review, that the United States may possibly use its nuclear weapons against
"axis of evil" states, including North Korea. "We cannot but take substantial
actions, regardless of our accords with the United States, if the report is
found true," he warned in a statement. The Committee for the Peaceful
Reunification of the Fatherland and the General Federation of Trade Unions
denounced the South Korean and U.S. military exercise (March 14 and 15,
respectively), calling it a prelude to an invasion upon North Korea. Rodong
Sinmun also described it as an actual declaration of war in a news commentary
Central Broadcasting Station denounced Japan (March 12)
for blasting off a H2A rocket and supporting U.S. anti-terrorism campaign. Its
criticism was intended to portray Japan as a country to beef up its military
muscle which was reminiscent of expansionist imperialism. "Japan is trying to
modernize its space weapons to prepare for aggression on its neighbors.
A foreign ministry delegation of Foreign Ministry led by
Vice Minister Kim Yong-il left for China (March 11).