o Chairman Kim Jong-il of the National Defense Commission was busy with his public activities, repeating his visits to military units and conducting on-site guidance in the economic sector. He was trying to boost the morale of the military, strengthen military preparedness and improve people's livelihood.
o Kim inspected military unit 205 April 11, watched a performance by a family arts group of military unit 324 the next day and another by the People's Army Merited Choir April 15. One thing unusual this time was that there was no mention of his entourage when he visited military unit 205.
o Kim conducted on-site guidance tours in the Hamheung region's economic sector for three days when he visited the Geumya River Power Station, a tissue paper manufacturing factory run by honorably discharged veterans and the May 20 Daeseong Factory April 14-16.
o When he visited Anbul Temple April 14, Kim instructed how to better preserve historic cultural relics intact.
o North Korea tried to boost allegiance to Kim il-sung by staging a "central report session" and various other events to mark the 91st birthday of the late father of Jong-il.
o North Korea opened The Result of Youth Construction Exhibition at the Youth Central Hall April 14 apparently to mobilize the young generation in its economic development.
- Meanwhile, on the occasion of the Day of Sun, North Korea simply reported the awarding of citations to various economic achievements by individual factories and enterprises without the usual propaganda about economic development.
o North Korea reported the opening of the 21st "Spring Goodwill Arts Festival" at the 4.25 Cultural Hall on April 10. Participating in the event were foreign troupes and expatriates living abroad. It also held the 16th "International Mangyeongdae Award Marathon" on April 13 at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang.
Relations with South Korea
o North Korea repeatedly emphasized "Great National Unity" as it asserted that the people on the Korean peninsula must jointly counter the US policy of peninsula domination. It made the assertion through Radio Pyongyang on the occasion of the fifth anniversary April 18 of the offer of Kim Jong-il's "Five Great Policy Line for Great National Unity."
- It said, "Now that the North and the South have cleared up misunderstandings and distrust with the promulgation of the June 15, 2000, South-North Joint Declaration and our prepared for a new turning point of reconciliation and unity, the North and the South must put an end to the old history of distrust and confrontation."
o Through its Red Cross society, North Korea has requested that South Korea provide rice and fertilizer. In a telephone message on April 17, North Korea said that the Korean people have cooperated with each other under the principle of love for compatriots and mutual assistance. It added such a good precedent should continue to be encouraged in the interest of fellow Koreans and national unity, as well as to enliven inter-Korean relations.
o The spokesman of North Korea's foreign ministry in an interview with KCNA April 12 suggested the possibility of Pyongyang accommodating the multilateral talks. This has laid the foundation for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue at the three-party talks involving North Korea, the United States and China at an early date.
o North Korea showed a positive attitude toward Japan when it asked Japan to return the five Japanese kidnap victims now staying in Japan. Pyongyang promised that they would be allowed to return home without delay, if they wanted to go back to Japan permanently after discussions with their families. The request was made public in a KCNA commentary April 16.
o North Korea's Central Broadcast reported April 15 that chairman Kim Jong-il sent scholarship and educational assistance worth 239.6 million yen to children of Korean expatriates in Japan. The remittance was made on the occasion of the Day of Sun, Kim il-sung's birthday.