o North Korea said on November 21 that there were as many as 1,200 appellations in 160 countries praising leader Kim Jong-il. The report by the Central Broadcasting Station was apparently made to highlight Kim's greatness at a time when the country was experiencing dual difficulties of economic hardship and nuclear controversy.
o North Korea urged factories, enterprises and workers to successfully wrap up this year's economic tasks set at the year's start. Through an editorial carried by its Rodong Sinmun November 17, North Korea emphasized that the economic tasks for the year laid down in the joint New Year editorial must be fulfilled.
o North Korea reported November 17 a simultaneous completion of a dam on Samgyocheon River and an drainage tunnel, while stressing the need to aggressively press for the "Baekma-Cheolsan Irrigation Work," an ongoing project laid down by the New Year joint editorials and adopted as a slogan of the ruling Workers Party's Central Committee. Completion of the irrigation work is expected to bring about an expanded production in the agricultural sector.
o North Korea held a "Scientific/Technological Presentation in National Geological Exploration Sector" November 24-26 in an effort to modernize underground exploration programs and raise their efficiency, thereby increasing the output of natural resources.
o North Korea reported November 27 that a container pier construction work was in progress in Nampo, a gateway to Pyongyang. As trade and freight through Nampo increased, the need has been raised to expand port infrastructure to handle the cargo backlogs.
o Citing examples set by economic entities at various levels of its society, North Korea through various media outlets repeatedly stressed the need for the establishment of a "collective culture of production/livelihood." The move was apparently intended to infuse a spirit of collective production to the population to enhance productivity as the annual projects drew to the year-end.
Relations with South Korea
o North Korea said through its Rodong Sinmun November 23 that the June 15, 2000, South-North Joint Declaration has opened a new historic era in achieving reconciliation, cooperation and unification between the people of both Koreas, emphasizing that the declaration will have to be implemented vigorously in the future.
o North Korea said, "all unlawful activities infringing on the freedom of navigation must be eradicated" and denounced the seizure on the high seas of its freighter, Sosan, in December 2002. It argued that political abuse of international law should be stopped. Pyongyang said the statement was made in a speech by its delegate to the 23rd session of the International Maritime Organization's General Assembly November 23.
o North Korea reported that a fund of $100 million raised by the United Nations and international environmental organization has been injected in support of a project that will develop Mt. Myohyang as a "nature protection" zone. The November issue of the magazine Joseon made the report. The support is expected to promote tourism as well as nature preservation there.
o North Korea reported the opening of a slate factory, November 25, built under joint venture with a Chinese enterprise. As the factory started production, it is expected that North Korea can afford to expand the supply of construction materials necessary for urban redevelopment and housing construction. Construction has been under way recently in an effort to improve its image for external opening and promote the livelihood of the people.
o North Korea's Bureau of State Quality Supervision and its Vietnamese counterpart concluded an "Agreement on Cooperation in Standardization and Measuring Quality" in Hanoi November 25. The step is seen as North Korea's effort to acquire foreign experience and technical assistance to advance its techniques for quality control.
o A Swedish foreign ministry delegation visited North Korea November 22-25 for talks on expanding bilateral relations on a sustained basis and "political talks" on matters of mutual concern.