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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Weekly on North Korea

 Serial No. 645 (May 23 to May 29, 2003)

Internal Affairs

(a) Chairman Kim Jong-il visited the Unit 1973 on May 23, the navy's Unit 388 the next day and the Unit 1174 the following day. Expressing his positive interest in the military, Kim worked intensely to consolidate his regime and to strengthen his crisis management centered on the military.

(b) North Korea launched propaganda efforts about its "postal service modernization" and emphasized the need to foster technical personnel in the IT sector.

(c) North Korea renamed Heecheon Engineering College as Heecheon Postal and Communication College and restructured the school's departments of electric communication and wireless engineering.

(d) The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported that North Korea's project of bond issuance targeted the well-to-do, groups of people most likely able to afford insurance such as bureaucrats, military officers, and those who had Foreign Service experience, and that bonds to be issued will total 20 billion to 50 billion won.

(e) North Korea reported that the Kim Jong-tae Electric Locomotive Factory has been prodding the production of a new type of electric locomotive. The new project appears to be an indication that another technological progress is being made since the factory produced and distributed new passenger cars following Kim Jong-il's on-site guidance on Janauary 5, 2002.

(f) North Korea reported that Gaeseong's municipal party committee was raising the class consciousness of the citizens to a new level by launching anti-American education by setting up class education rooms at factories, enterprises, schools and collective farms.

Relations with South Korea

(a) During the fifth meeting of the South-North Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee (May 2003, Pyongyang) North Korea warned of "disasters" against the South in connection with the "further steps" phrase contained in the recent Korea-U.S. Joint Statement (May 14, 2003, Washington, DC). The North Korean side subsequently made "explanatory remarks," saying the remarks were meant to avoid any disasters for all Koreans. However, North Korea through its Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland repeated again that "inter-Korean relationship will be brought to naught and the South will be in for an unspeakable disaster" if any additional steps were taken.

(b) North Korea, warning the seriousness of the current situation, instigated the entire Korean people to engage in anti-war, anti-U.S. struggles in a message titled "Notice to the Entire Korean People," which was jointly issued on May 28 in the name of the central committee of the Democratic Front for the Unification of the Fatherland and the Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland.

- On the occasion of the first anniversary (June 13) of the accident in which two South Korean schoolgirls were run over by a U.S. military armored vehicle, the General Federation of Trade Union and six other North Korean organizations issued anti-American messages and highlighted "massacres of innocent civilians" during the Korean War.

(c) Through its statement by the spokesman of the Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, North Korea said it will resume early in June the Mt. Geumgang tour program that was suspended since April 25 due to the outbreak of SARS. Describing the decision as a sign of faith to implement the steps expressed in the fifth meeting of the South-North Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee, North Korea expressed the intention to promote inter-Korean relationships, stressing that it would promote faithfully matters it agreed upon with the South Korean private-sector organizations.

External Affairs

(a) The spokesman of North Korea's foreign ministry issued a statement on May 24, marking one month of the Beijing three-way meeting. The statement hinted for the first time at possibilities that Pyongyang will accept a multilateral forum. It said if the North Korea-US meeting convened first, Pyongyang would be agreeable to a multilateral forum later.

(b) In a Rodong Sinmun commentary on its nuclear program and abduction of Japanese nationals, North Korea strongly condemned Japan for further aggravating the bilateral relations and scheming to provoke a war, and pointed out that Japan was alluding to a possible review of economic sanctions and formation of an international containment against North Korea.

(c) North Korea reported in detail Chinese president Hu Jin Tao's visit to Russia (May 26-28) and the Russian-Chinese Joint Communique issued in Moscow May 27 and apparently hoped for a "peaceful resolution" of its nuclear issue by Russia and China.

(d) A party of six U.S. Congressmen visited North Korea May 30-June 1.