|1. Domestic Affairs
Various events were held to commemorate the 90th birthday of the
late leader Kim Il-sung. Among them were the April Spring Friendship Art
Festival, International Marathon for Mangyongdae Cup, a meeting of the executive
board of the International Institute of the Juche(self-reliance) Idea (IIJI),
and the issue of commemorative coins.
Many events took place to mark the 9th anniversary of Kim
Jong-il's election to the chairmanship of the National Defense Commission. The
official ceremony was held at the April 25 House of Culture on April 8. Other
events included a rally by Pyongyang youth and students (in Youth Hall, April
9), a performance by labor art circles (in Laborers' Hall, April 9) and a young
soldiers' speech contest (on a guard post, April 9). All events were intended to
highlight his greatness.
Chairman Kim inspected a newly built "gift exhibition
hall" of the Ministry of People's Armed Forces (April 10) and the April 11 Kum
Song Lifeguard Unit 834 of the Korea People's Army (April).
The 15th International Marathon for Mangyongdae Cup was
held in Pyongyang (April 7). South African Motolokeng Saopalelwez (male) and Ham
Pong-sil of North Korea (female) took the first places.
A national memorial service for communist revolutionary
fighter Choe Hyon was held at the People's Palace of Culture (April 10).
Kim Yon-ja, a South Korean pop singer living in Japan,
gave a performance at the Mansudae Art Theater, Pyongyang (April 10).
2. South Korean Relations
North Korea's Central Broadcasting Station continued its
denunciation of the South Korean Grand National Party's basic policy on North
Korea (April 8). "Their policy calling for peace first and then inter-Korean
exchanges would impede Inter-Koreancooperation and exchanges completely and
drive Inter-Korean relation toward confrontation and a war phase," it said.
The presidium of the North Korean Supreme People's
Assembly announced in a decree (April 4) that it would confer "Fatherland
Reunification Prizes" to Koreans at home and abroad for contributing to the
efforts to reunify Korea.
3. External affairs
Rodong Sinmun, a newspaper of the Workers' Party, denounced the
U.S. sales of F-15 fighters to South Korea (Pyongyang Broadcasting Station
reported, April 9). "Their arms sales and plots to beef up their military muscle
would escalate a military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula and bring
tension to Asia," it commented.
Rodong Sinmun also demanded that Japan compensate for its
past atrocities on the Korean people during its colonial regime (Pyongyang
Broadcasting Station reported, April 8). "The liquidation of the past wrongdoing
committed by Japan is the crucial issue in developing ties between North Korea
and Japan," it said. "It is an act of defending and exercising our self-respect
and self-reliant rights."
Russian President Putin sent Kim Jong-il a message (April
9), congratulating him on the Day of Sun, the birthday of the late President Kim
North Korea signed an agreement on cultural exchanges
with Armenia (April 5).