o North Korea attempted to energize the election atmosphere by announcing July 10 an "open letter" containing the nomination of Kim Jong-il as a candidate for deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly, adopting a "Statement of Appeal to all North Koreans" a day later and staging a "Rally of Allegiance" two days later.
- In the open letter, Kim said, "The coming election will be a historic, grand political festival through which we can show off the potential of military-first politics and single-minded unity. It will be an occasion to enhance the prestige and dignity of our socialist fatherland, which will remain unflinching in any storm."
o Chairman Kim Jong-il watched a military propaganda art unit's performance, and then encouraged the military to promote the art propaganda project and to boost military morale, when he visited the People's Army Unit 264 and the companies under its command July 16.
o North Korea reported through television July 13 that a "fruit tree research institute" was created in Gwail County in South Hwanghae Province. The county itself was developed as a fruit production complex, which would help solve the food shortage as increased fruit production would be possible through more modern methods of fruit cultivation.
o On the occasion of World Population Day July 11, North Korea revealed North Koreans' average age of marriage: 27.3 for men and 24.8 for women, when it disclosed the results of a survey on reproductive hygiene conducted with the support of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).
o North Korea announced on July 11 that its nationwide "Emergency Control Measures" in force since April 29 due to the SARS epidemic were lifted after about 80 days and that it has returned to the normal situation. But it stressed that SARS prevention work would go on.
Relations with South Korea
o Through the statements issued by the spokesmen of the Joseon Social Democratic Party July 14 and of the Cheondo (Religious) Cheong-u Party the following day and through its media organizations, North Korea claimed, "US information on nuclear high-explosive tests was false." It also denounced South Korea's Grand National Party for trying to legislate a new special prosecutor law, which it said intends to "block inter-Korean relations and put the situation on a war path."
o Chairman Kim Jong-il on July 14 received Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who visited North Korea July 12-15 as Beijing's emissary. Dai delivered a personal letter from Prime Minister Hu Jintao, and discussed matters of common concern. It is worth watching how the emissary's visit, made amid a tense situation prompted by the North Korean nuclear issue, would affect Pyongyang's attitude in the days ahead.
o Sharply reacting to a lower house passage on July 4 of Japan's special act on the support for Iraqi rehabilitation, North Korea, through its Rodong Sinmun commentary July 15, condemned the move as "Japan's attempt to repeat its history of aggression," and said "there was no ground whatsoever for Japan to send heavily armed Self Defense Forces abroad."
o North Korea reported through its broadcast July 14 that a delegation of the Ministry of Metals and Machinery Industries, headed by Jeon Seung-hoon, will visit Russia and China. Apparently, the delegation was sent to normalize the metals and machinery industrial sector relations with its traditional friends, as economic pressure increased from the United States and Japan over the nuclear issue.
* Through the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) July 11 and Radio Pyongyang July 16, North Korea said Russia decided to provide it with food worth $10 million via the World Food Program (WFP) and China to provide a grant of 10,000 tons of diesel oil, respectively.