|1. Domestic Affairs
Chairman Kim Jong-il watched a performance by the Korea People's Army (KPA)
choir (April 17, Central and Pyongyang broadcasting stations reported.
Commanding officers were promoted to generals. Kim
Jong-il, Supreme Commander of the KPA, issued order No.00152 (April 13) to
promote a total of 54 commanding officers to colonel generals.
An official ceremony was held to commemorate 90th
birthday of the late leader Kim Il-sung (April 14, in Pyongyang Gymnasium).
Participants praised his revolutionary achievements and leadership, and
emphasized that North Korean residents should follow Kim Jong-il's military-first politics.
Parts of the premiere of the final version of a mass
gymanstics display entitled "Arirang" went on air live (April 14, in May Day
Stadium). Kim Yong-nam, president of the North Korean Supreme People's Assembly,
and other superior officials at home and abroad watched the show.
2. South Korean Relations
Representatives of South and North Korean social groups issued a
five-point communique (at a hotel near Mt. Geumgang, North Korea, April 12).
They welcomed the April 5 communique, which had been issued after South Korean
special envoy Lim Dong-won's visit to North Korea. They vowed to avoid
escalating military tension and promote an environment to a peaceful Korean
reunification. They agreed to activate South and North Korean civilian-level
meetings and dialogue. Both sides will prepare for the June 15 National
Unification Festival, while seeking to thanks cooperation and exchanges between
South and North Korean social groups.
Central TV aired a drama on the family of a North Korean
defector to South Korea (April 15). It showed a family living a happy life,
regardless of the defection to South Korea of one of its members, owing to the
3. External affairs
North Korea and Japan are scheduled to hold their Red Cross
conference (in Beijing, April 29 to 30). Both sides expected to discuss
humanitarian issues such as the investigation of the whereabouts of Japanese
nationals who were abducted by North Korean spies in the 1970s and 80s, and
homecoming visits by North-Korea Japanese wives to their homeland. (Central
Broadcasting Station reported April 18).
The Chinese government pledged a 50 million yuan ($6
million) worth of aids to North Korea (Central Broadcasting Station reported
Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Workers' Party, accused
Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the Liberal Party of Japan, (April 19) of his remark
that Japan is capable of building nuclear warheads if it has a will. "Japan is a
dangerous country that can provoke a nuclear war," it said. "It poses a blatant
challenge to the humankind, who wishing for the world peace and security in the
An economic delegation led by Jo Chang-dok, vice premier
of the North Korean cabinet, visited Russia (April 4 to 12). They inspected far
east region, including the Littoral Province of Siberia and Khabarovsk.