1. Domestic Affairs
- Chairman Kim Jong-il on October 1 visited again a farm under the control of the 534th military unit that he inspected in June to offer on-site guidance, emphasizing the necessity of mechanized farming to harvest two crops a year.
He also attended a concert performed jointly by Russia's National Academy and the Interior Ministry on the same day.
- North Korea repeatedly stressed the revolutionary military spirit during a Central Study Debate on September 26 and the Juche (self-reliance) ideology in an editorial of the Rodong Sinmun on September 30 in an apparent attempt to reinforce ideology indoctrination and forestall possible adverse effects the recent designation of Sinuiju as a special administrative region and other reform measures may have on the people.
Meanwhile, the Rodong Sinmun reported on October 3 that chairman Kim showed a deep interest in reforming economic management "in our style" to build its economy, which is interpreted as emphasizing improvement in economic management, while securing profits under the principles of socialism.
- North Korea is trying to set up a program development office and a lecture hall in the Pyongyang Information Center with the support of the United Nations Development Programme and other organizations in a bid to create a hub for large-scale computer software research and distribution projects.
It demonstrated achievements made this year in the information technology field through the 13th "National Program Competition and Exhibition" that covered science, technology and education divisions.
- By holding an "Enthusiasts Meeting of Educational Workers" in every province, North Korea has been implementing changes in school names and other education-sector improvement measures since September in the hope that it would lead to enhanced skills in information and science sectors, which have received a particular emphasis recently.
In addition, it held sports and game competitions on October 1 in celebration of the 56th anniversary of the founding of Kim Il-sung University and pledged to advance the faculty's capabilities and a science research project.
2. South Korean Relations
North Korea reported two rounds of performances by the visiting MBC troupe (from Seoul), the troupe's meeting with Kim Young-nam and joint inter-Korean events such as a South-North academic debate on the occasion of the National Founding Day. While publicizing the ongoing private-sector inter-Korean exchanges in and out of the country, it stressed that they will contribute to the cause of national unification.
- It also reported that the 14th Asian Games was opened in Busan in the presence of president Kim Dae-jung and other leading South Korean figures. It promptly made public the news of events in which North Korean athletes participated.
- North Korea also commented on the remarks a South Korean presidential candidate (of the Grand National Party) made regarding the South Koreans abducted to the North and prisoners of war held in the North. North Korea criticized his behavior for hampering the progress of relations between North Korea and Japan as well as inter-Korean relations, but was reticent about its stand on the issues raised.
3. External Affairs
- North Korea sent a "congratulatory message" to the Chinese leadership including president Jiang Zemin on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the Chinese government on October 1. The message was jointly issued in the names of Kim Jong-il, Kim Young-nam and Hong Seong-nam.
- It reported on September 30 and October 3 that James Kelly, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, will visit Pyongyang for talks on bilateral issues October 3-5 as the U.S. presidential envoy.
Meanwhile, North Korea, through its Radio Pyongyang on October 3, emphasized that respect for independence constitutes the essence of its external policy and stressed that there could hardly be improvement in relations as long as the principle is not respected.
- A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry, in an interview with the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 26, denounced that Israel's military attacks on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were in defiance of the efforts of the international community wishing for a solution of the Middle East problem.