o In hope of helping North Koreans understand the market economy and improve their knowledge of science and technology, North Korea innovated the contents of college curricula on economic and scientific subjects for major schools like Kim Il-sung and Kim Chaek Polytechnic universities.
o Enumerating the cultural correlations between Balhae and Goguryeo Kingdoms, North Korea said the former was a sovereign state, which inherited and developed the latter's culture. It denied interpretations in history books that claimed that Balhae and China had maintained a suzerain and vassal relationship.
o Through a report by its Central TV Station on November 30, North Korea said that five "monuments for the history of revolution" led by the "Three Generals of Mt. Baekdu" (Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jeong-sook) were erected in North Korea. This appears to be a move to lure the absolute allegiance to Kim Jong-il as well as unity of the population by highlighting the greatness and achievements of the Kim Il-sung family.
o North Korea's party organ, the Rodong Sinmun, advised the people November 23 to make "Health Taekwondo" a daily routine as an exercise to maintain health in winter. Health Taekwondo is a version of the self-defense martial art, executed to the tune of aerobics.
o The North Korean Central News Agency reported November 28 that the Joseon International Communications Bureau under the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications offers international e-mail service. And North Korea has continued efforts to improve infrastructure of the international communication environment since its July 1 Economic Management Improvement Measures.
Relations with South Korea
o South and North Korea held their eighth working-level contact on the connection of inter-Korean railways and roads and adopted a six-point agreement covering signal, communication and electrical systems, supply of bridge slabs for the Donghae (East Sea) Railway and supply schedules for materials and equipment, as well as technology. The contact held in Sokcho December 2-5 thus finalized the conditions for stable promotion of the connection work.
o According to a Pyongyang Radio report on December 3, Jeong Deog-gi, a director-general at the Secretariat of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland, described 2003 as "the year that saw substantial fruition in reconciliation, unity and cooperation among Koreans under the banner of the Korean people." The description represents North Korea's strong will to continue to develop its relations with South Korea despite its nuclear issue and other difficulties in and out of the country.
o In a memorandum jointly issued November 28 by North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland and the Research Institute for the Unification of the Fatherland, North Korea tried to escalate the anti-American mood in South Korea by urging South Koreans to defend "the Korean people's dignity and interest through mutual assistance of the Korean people," while highlighting the alleged unjustifiability of hostile U.S. policies toward Pyongyang. North Korea made the argument, saying that it would only "settle the account with the United States on its crimes against the South Koreans."
o Through a commentary carried by the Rodong Sinmun on November 29, North Korea denounced the United States for ceasing the construction of light-water nuclear reactors, arguing that the United States must compensate for the enormous damage inflicted on its economy. The move indicates that Pyongyang will continue to demand Washington pay compensation for the damage, whenever occasions arose, while hurling at the United States the responsibility for the collapse of the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework.
o Through a commentary carried by the Rodong Sinmun November 12, North Korea urged the United States to make a "package deal based on the principle of simultaneous actions" at the six-way talks on the nuclear issue. The call came amid daily denunciations of the North Korean media outlets over the news conference the U.S. defense secretary gave regarding the six-nation meeting on North Korea.
o On December 2, North Korea called on Japan to "make public the list of Koreans who were kidnapped and/or forcibly taken away and apologize and compensate for the actions." The call came as Japan was engaged in field exercises November 25 against possible chemical terror attacks and firing exercises two days later under a hypothetical intrusion of a ship into its seas.