1. Internal Affairs
o North Korea emphasized the historic significance of anti-imperialist struggles through a North Hamgyong Province report session March 10 on the 70th anniversary of the "Mt. Wangjae Meeting." It tried to indoctrinate the masses with its ideology by emphasizing the bold offensive launched 70 years ago and renewed the determination of self-reliance in connection with the recent situation.
o On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the call for "Seonggang Torch," North Korea propagandized the successful experience of Seongjin Steel Mill, which was attained by hardship marches and massive mobilization. It then exhorted the population to achieve good results in the defense industry, which is the foremost task for this year.
- The central committee of North Korea's ruling party sent a letter of gratitude to the coal mining enterprises in Bukchang and Deokcheon and commended them for streamlining outdated coal mining facilities and contributing to a normal production.
o On the occasion of the 93rd anniversary of "International Women's Holiday," North Korea urged women to positively participate in the struggle against the United States, while emphasizing the "1950s spirit to defend the fatherland to death" and the "1990s spirit of hardship marches."
o In an apparent attempt to accelerate research in its sophisticated basic science field, North Korea held its first "presentation of Nano-science and technology" in Pyongyang March 11-12.
2. Relations with South Korea
0 North and South Korea laid a foundation for moving forward in the once suspended rail work, when they agreed on the resumption of the work connecting the Seoul-Sinuiju (on the west) and Donghae (East Sea) railways, the South's support of materials and equipment and on-site visit during the 4th inter-Korean working-level contact in Gaeseong March 10-12.
0 North Korea tried to persuade South Korea against the "special prosecutor law," under which investigations will be conducted into South Korea remittance of cash to the North. The Asia-Pacific Peace Committee contended that the case should not be subjected to a judicial process and that South Korea's opposition Grand National Party had sent secret emissaries asking the North to influence the 2002 presidential election. The move came days before March 15, the deadline for the president to veto the law.
o Responding to the Ministry of National Defense's statement March 7 in connection with the North Korean MiG fighters that accosted a U.S. reconnaissance plane, North Korea denounced the South Korean military authorities for "intolerable behavior instigating the Korean compatriots."
o North Korea tightened its guard against the military presence around the Korean peninsula during the joint ROK-U.S. military exercises and the port call of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. It also test-fired again a surface-to-ship missile over the East Sea March 10 following the one on February 24.
o Participants to the inter-Korean meeting of workers' delegates adopted March 13 as "unification declaration" expressing their support for the June 15, 2000, South-North Joint Declaration, pledging to struggle for anti-foreign forces and anti-imperialism and guaranteeing for free unification activity. Their move was considered as intended to expedite unification movement through labor organizations.
3. External Relations
o North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Pak Kil-yeon called for the withdrawal of the United Nations Command from Korea March 4, arguing that the maintenance of the command defames the authority of UN.
o In response to the U.S. state department's listing North Korea as a religious oppressor, North Korea refuted, claiming that political as well as religious freedoms are legally guaranteed. The level of reaction, however, was rather modest due probably to the negative image the international community holds about it.
o North Korea expressed gratitude for the arrival of part of the 70,000 tons of grain the European Union provided through the World Food Program.