1. Domestic Affairs
- North Korea issued a New Year joint editorial entitled "Let's
Exalt the Dignity and Prestige of the Republic under the Great Military-first
- The editorial, co-authored by the Rodong Sinmun and the armed forces,
stressed the importance of defense capability and mutual assistance of the Korean
people (both South and North) amid a sense of crisis facing the current urgent
- North Korea predicted that an indoctrination drive will be
in the offing for the masses to implement the theme of the joint editorial,
given the January 3 editorial of the Rodong Sinmun and the newspaper's subsequent
reports on the people's support for and other reactions to the joint editorial.
- Ushering in the New Year, North Korea held events in memory
of the late Kim Il-sung, including sports and entertainment activities to observe
the New Year. In Pyongyang, street-car operation hours were lengthened and restaurants
did special service, adding to festivity.
- Chairman Kim Jong-il watched a performance the award-winning
military choir gave in commemoration of the Socialist Constitution Day on December
27, and inspired the soldiers with allegiance.
- North Korea sought to solidify its internal unity during this
nuclear crisis by staging massive anti-American rallies in Pyongyang December
28, Gaeseong and Nampo December 29 and other major cities.
- North Korea said trains, newly made up of "modern, cultural"
cars, will be run on the northern segments involving Pyongyang, Sinuiju and
the Tuman River beginning in the New Year.
- Dedication of a hydroelectric power plant at Pyongyang's Sangwon
county completed after three years of work is expected to supply electricity
to industrial factories nearby and residential areas.
2. Relations with South Korea
- South and North Korea adopted a bilateral shipping agreement
covering the opening of sea routes, safe shipping operations and maritime rescue
work and defining their transport services as "cabotage of the Korean people"
at a meeting of shipping officials in Pyongyang December 25-28.
- North Korea continued on a course of driving a wedge between
South Korea and the United States since a meeting of inter-Korean military meeting
on December 23, which failed to agree on the opening of provisional road for
traffic, trans-border roads in the east and west parts of the Korean peninsula.
It also highlighted the alleged U.S. responsibility for the failure, which was
raised in a statement of the spokesman of the Committee for the Peaceful Unification
of the Fatherland December 28 and others.
- North Korea enumerated the "United States' Anti-North
Korea Policies" during 2002 and its demand for withdrawal of U.S. troops
from Korea on December 30 through the secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful
Unification of the Fatherland. The enumeration was contained in the committee's
Report No. 832.
- North Korea instigated struggles in South Korea to rescind
the provision defining the South-side headquarters of Hanchongryeon and Beomminryeon,
the two outlawed underground organizations, as bodies aiding and abetting South
Korea's enemy. The instigation was made in a statement on December 27 in line
with the spirit of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration by the spokesman
of the North's Joseon Student Committee in connection with the arrest of students
belonging to Hanchongryeon.
3. External Affairs
- North Korea intensified further its pressure on the United
States to have dialogue with it, when it issued a statement hinting at the possibility
of withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) through the spokesman
of its foreign ministry on December 29.
- North Korea expressed a strong will for resolving the nuclear
issue through dialogue with the United States, when it urged for an affirmative
role by concerned countries in bringing about the Pyongyang-Washington dialogue.
- Jocheongryon, the pro-Pyongyang residents association based
in Japan, pledged to reinforce its organization in a congratulatory message
to Kim Jong-il. In a return message, North Korea's foreign minister Kim Young-nam
asked for creating in Japan an atmosphere favorable for implementing the North
Korea-Japan Pyongyang Declaration.