- North Korea utilized Kim Jong-il's 61st birthday (Feb. 16) as an occasion for tightening its internal unity by staging various festivities amid the nuclear-induced, tense situation.
- During a report session on the festivities, where important figures such as Kim Young-nam, Jo myong-rok and Hong Seong-nam attended, participants pledged to reinforce their will to cope with a "nuclear standoff with the U.S. imperialists," while emphasizing the "Spirit of the Death-defying Defense of the Fatherland in the 1950s" and the "Spirit of Hardship March in the 1990s."
- North Korea also attempted to encourage production desires and morale for the population by publicizing the outcome of the 2002 economic development via television on the occasion of Kim's birthday.
- North Korea held the 12th International Figure Skating Festival for the Mt. Baekdu Trophy, in which athletes from pro-North Korean countries were invited, February 14-17. The event, designed to promote friendly ties with those nations, also heightened the festive mood of Kim's birthday.
- Gwak Beom-gi and other cadres of central organizations visited a rear-area military officers' school following the recent example of Kim Jong-il in North Korea's continuing efforts to support the military projects.
Relations with South Korea
- South and North Korea entered a new phase in their relationship when the sixth round reunion of their separated families was held at Mt. Geumgang February 20-25. The southern family members traveled via a newly opened temporary road along the East Coast for the first time. Also, an advance survey of the projected Gaeseong Industrial Complex was made February 21 via a temporary road in the western region of the Korean Peninsula.
- The chairman of North Korea's Red Cross society sent a message of condolences February 20 to his South Korean counterpart through Panmunjom over the tragic subway accident in Daegu city, South Korea.
- North Korea hosted a joint inter-Korean data display on imperial Japan's forcible arrest of Koreans. South Koreans including some members of South Korea's National Assembly took part in the event held February 20-25.
- A North Korean MIG jet fighter intruded into the Northern Limit Line February 20 amid Pyongyang's denunciation of the scheduled US-South Korea joint military exercises. North Korea complains the annual military exercise as a "move on the eve of a war."
- In a peace-oriented gesture, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman argued in a statement February 18 that the North Korea-U.S. non-aggression treaty it proposed was not intended to ask for a compensation, but to cope with the US security threat.
- Maintaining that the United States was breaching the Korean Armistice Agreement, a spokesman of the North Korean People's Army's Panmunjom mission warned on February 17 that North Korea would take decisive measures despite the armistice pact if the United States imposed sanctions on North Korea.
- North Korea showed extremely sensitive reactions to military matters like a recent South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise and maneuvers of the Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force.
- A delegation of North Korea's forestry ministry visited Russia's Far Eastern region February 3-17 and discussed in detail the construction of a North Korea-Russia timber mill and other cooperative projects in the forestry sector.
- North Korea's foreign minister Baek Nam-soon attended the 13th nonaligned foreign ministers' meeting held in Malaysia February 20-22.