o North Korea held the first session of its 11th-term Supreme People's Assembly on September 3. Despite the second launching of Kim Jong-il's rule, the session was staged in a low profile manner with no new policy visions unveiled. It elected the leadership lineup of state agencies and reconfirmed Pyongyang's position on its nuclear issue.
o The North Korean population was induced to pledge allegiance to Kim Jong-il from the population in order to consolidate unity of the regime around Kim, despite the predicament in and out of the country arising from the nuclear program and economic difficulties. North Korea made the attempt when it staged a rally of one million people in Pyongyang on September 4, amid a massive celebratory atmosphere to mark Kim's reinstallation as the chairman of the National Defense Commission.
o On the occasion of the 55th anniversary (September 9) of the founding of its regime, North Korea held large-scale events awarding academic degrees and positions while holding exhibitions and other celebratory events. Adding to the atmosphere, it also formed a "committee to prepare for the celebrative events" by friendly foreign countries.
o North Korea urged all heroic fighters to step up for a showdown with the United States with a make-or-break resolve. The call, made during a "Heroes' Rally in the Military-First Era" on September 5, was also intended to induce competition for allegiance to Kim Jong-il as well as defense of his regime.
o North Korea awarded Science and Technology Prizes on February 16 to boost morale and stimulate R&D for scientists and technicians, according to its Central News Agency on September 3.
o North Korea remodeled, expanded and created commercial facilities in downtown Pyongyang to improve the quality of life for citizens and to establish a modern commercial distribution network as part of a project to modernize Pyongyang.
Relations with South Korea
o North Korea awarded Prizes of Unification of the Fatherland to Kim Young-dae, Li Jong-hyeok, Jeon Geum-jin and 27 other North Koreans credited with contributing to improvement of inter-Korean relations by a presidium decree of the Supreme People's Assembly September 2. The awarding was made to mark the 55th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean regime.
o The secretariat of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland commented on September 1 that the successful holding of the Daegu World Sports (Universiad) Games constituted a "victory for the June 15, 2000 South-North Joint Declaration, based on the basic ideology between the Korean people as well as a victory for the Korean people of the North and the South aspiring for reconciliation and unification."
o North Korea's Research Institute of Unification of the Fatherland in a white paper issued on September 4 denounced opposition parties and other ultra-rightist forces in South Korea for impeding development of inter-Korean relationships.
o In an interview with its Central News Agency on August 30, North Korea's foreign ministry denounced the United States for the lack of change in the latter's hostile policies toward it.
- ministry spokesman dismissed the six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program as "idle discussions on the table designed to disarm North Korea." He contended that North Korea had "no interest in, nor expectations for the talks and that it had no alternative but to strengthen its nuclear deterrent."
o Through a Rodong Sinmun commentary on September 2, North Korea vehemently denounced Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for the remarks he made during his European tour of Germany, Poland and the Czech republic August 17-23. Koizumi said that Japan's negotiations with Pyongyang on normalization of bilateral relations would be possible only after the nuclear issue and the Japanese citizen abduction cases have been resolved.
o Work has started to construct a bridge connecting Musan County in North Korea's North Hamgyeong province and China's Jilin province over the Tuman River, according to a report by China's Yanbian newspaper on August 26. Completion of the bridge was expected to facilitate trade between the two regions facing each other across the border in the far northeastern corner of the Korean peninsula.