o Through various media from November 14 to November 20, North Korea concentrated on solidifying the regime's unity on the theme of "Military-First Politics." It tried to induce and exhort the people's allegiance by urging to successfully wrap up the major tasks laid down in the New Year joint editorials and the slogans of the Workers Party's central committee.
o North Korea built a folding scroll-type, oversize mosaic mural with a theme of the "Three Great Generals of Mt. Baekdu" in Sariwon, North Hwanghae province, turning the city into an arena for ideological indoctrination to idolize the Kim Jong-il family.
o Through its television programs and animation materials such as "Boy General," North Korea kept airing telephone manners, traffic order and other science-related subjects. This campaign appears to have been intended to diversify its broadcast programs from emphasis on mundane subjects like political ideology to matters that could elicit more interests from the people.
o North Korea reported on November 16 that an investigative team of the Academy of Social Sciences' Archeological Research Institute had discovered in Pyongyang a kiln site for earthenwares presumed to belong to the Neolithic age. Recently, North Korea went to great lengths to unearth ancient ruins and relics in an effort to prove and propagandize that it, rather than South Korea, was the legitimate heir to Korean history and people.
Relations with South Korea
o A senior member of "Minhwahyop," a group purporting to seek reconciliation and cooperation with South Koreans, said in an interview with the newspaper Joseon Sinbo November 18 that he highly rated the achievements made this year in the exchanges between South and North Korea in the private sector and emphasized that his organization will continue to develop the inter-Korean relationship based on mutual assistance of the Korean people next year by thoroughly implementing the June 15, 2000, South-North Joint Statement. The statement implies North Korea's strong will to improve its relations with South Korea.
o North Korea held an event to mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Mt. Geumgang tourism project in Mt. Geumgang on November 19 with the attendance of celebrities from both Koreas. In a congratulatory remarks, Li Jong-hyeok, vice chairman of North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, said that Mt. Geumgang has served not only as a reunion site for separated families, but also as a venue for reconciliation, unity and unification.
o Report No. 852, issued November 18 by North Korea's Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland, said that U.S. position not to withdraw its troops from South Korea constitutes a challenge to the anti-American sentiments of the South Korean people and their demands for the withdrawal of the U.S. forces. The report was commenting on a U.S. defense department report on the situation of the Korean peninsula submitted to the U.S. Congress.
o In an interview with the North Korean Central News Agency November 16, the spokesman of the North Korean foreign ministry, said that North Korea was willing to give up its nuclear program in phases when the United States drops its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and threats are eliminated. Since an atmosphere was being fomented for the next round of six-party meetings on the North Korean nuclear issue, the North Korean move implies that Pyongyang will also seek progress in the nuclear-issue negotiations by being flexible.
o Mongolian Prime Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar, visiting North Korea November 19-20, signed an agreement with North Korea on the promotion of investment and the prevention of double taxation and tax evasion. He also promised grants to North Korea, a move that contributed to strengthening friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.
o North Korea's economic delegation, led by Vice Trade Minister Ku Bon-tae, visited North Vietnam November 15 to promote bilateral economic relations.
o The Voice of Russia Broadcasting Station reported November 17 that the governor of Russia's Littoral Province paid a visit to North Korea October 2-4, during which he discussed with North Koreans the possibility of leasing the Najin harbor. A deal would give Russia the benefit of securing a logistics base and North Korea foreign exchange.