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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Weekly on North Korea (May 19-25, 2006)

ROK Ministry of Unification

Internal Affairs

AP Television News (APTN) opened its resident office in Pyongyang on May 22. APTN, a division of AP news in America provides international video contents to broadcasters and the Internet. The APTN will be the first western news organization to provide a full-time coverage on North Korea . Its Pyongyang station is the fruits of APTN’s four-year-long strenuous effort of negotiations with the North Korean State Radio, Chosun Central Broadcasting and Chosun Central TV, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There were a few foreign news organizations stationed in Pyongyang , including Chinese Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily, and Russian Itar-Tass News Agency. Based on the agreement reached with the North, APTN is expected to recruit staff from its headquarter along with the employees it will hire from North Korean State Radio and Television.

Pyongyang ’s permission of the establishment of the APTN Pyongyang office foreshadows indications that the doors will be soon open to Japanese and British foreign media.

Pyongyang invited the President of the New York Times and the founder of CNN last year and also allowed foreign media corps in Seoul to visit the Gaeseong Industrial Complex early this year.

North Korea has accepted the American media company based on the judgment that the entry into the international community would be difficult without the normalization of diplomatic relations with the U.S. By conveying its positions through western media to the international community, it seemed try to shed its isolated image.

Inter-Korean Affairs

The South and the North held a working-level contact on the June 15 Inter-Korean Joint Festival.

Foreign Affairs

Chongryon (The General Association of Korean Residents Supporting North Korea in Japan ) and Mindan (The General Association of Korean Residents Supporting South Korea in Japan ) held talks and adopted a joint statement, reported the Central Broadcasting Station on May 20.

The Central Broadcasting Station reported on May 25 that North Korea and Russia held the ninth meeting of the forestry sub-committee under the North Korea and Russia Trade, Economy, and Scientific Technology Cooperation Committee, and had signed the protocol on forestry.

In accordance with decisions made during the first, the second and the third economic joint committees, North Korea and Russia have established and operated eight subcommittees on forestry, coal, transport, Far East in Russia , scientific technology, light industries, trade, finance and debts. The bilateral protocol was concluded to expand discussions on cooperative projects in forestry of Far East regions in Russia .

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