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Mongolia, DPRK Sign Economic Agreements

29 Oct
Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga (L) shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam (R) after signing an economic cooperation agreement at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga (L) shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam (R) after signing an economic cooperation agreement at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Following a meeting of senior DPRK and Mongolian government officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday), the two countries signed two economic agreements, along with a technology exchange agreement.  DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga signed a cooperation agreement on industry and agriculture.  Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold signed a cooperation agreement on cultural and sports exchanges and tourism.  DPRK Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport Kwak Il Ryong and  Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold signed an agreement on cooperation in the road and transportation sectors.  Jong Song Chang Deputy (vice) General Director of the DPRK General Bureau of Software Industry and Ambassador Ganbold on behalf of theMongolian IT, Post and Telecommunications Bureau signed a 2013 to 2015 technology exchange agreement “in the field of IT.”

DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga sign an economic cooperation agreement in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga sign an economic cooperation agreement in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Chair of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold sign an agreement on sports and cultural exchanges and tourism in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Chair of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold sign an agreement on sports and cultural exchanges and tourism in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Deputy Director-General of the DPRK General Bureau Software Industry Jong Song Chang and Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold sign a technology exchange agreement effective from 2013 to 2015 in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Deputy Director-General of the DPRK General Bureau Software Industry Jong Song Chang and Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold sign a technology exchange agreement effective from 2013 to 2015 in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Mongolian President Arrives in Pyongyang and Meets with Kim Yong Nam

28 Oct
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) shakes hands with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam (R) after arrving at Pyongyang Airport on 28 October 2013 for a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) shakes hands with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam (R) after arrving at Pyongyang Airport on 28 October 2013 for a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a delegation of senior Mongolian government officials arrived in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday) for a four-day visit ending on 31 October.  President Elbegdorj’s visit will commemorate the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Mongolian relations and lead to the expansion of the countries’ bilateral ties.  Greeting Elbegdorj at Pyongyang Airport were Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Pak Ui Chun (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Ri Ryong Nam (Minister of Foreign Trade), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), Son Kwang Ho (Vice Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kwang Il Ryong (Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport), Hong Kyu (DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia), Kim Jin Bom (Vice Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and Chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association) and other DPRK officials.  Also greeting President Elbegjorj at the airport was Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold.

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj reviews an honor guard of the KPA and Worker-Peasant Red Guards (L) and receives a floral bouquet after arriving in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj reviews an honor guard of the KPA and Worker-Peasant Red Guards (L) and receives a floral bouquet after arriving in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Elbegdorj was accompanied by his wife, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold, Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga, Secretary General of the National Security Council Tsagaandari Enkhtuvshin, Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Tserendejid Byambajav, Vice Minister of Road Transport Khabshai Erjan,  Presidential National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor Lundeg Purevsuren, Presidential Advisor for Mass Liaison and Mass Policy Amgalanbaatar Ganbaatar,  Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Pureb Altangerel and other Mongolian government officials.  During the welcoming ceremony for the Mongolian delegation, President Elbegdorj reviewed an honor guard consisting of the KPA’s three service branches and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards.  Representatives of DPRK women workers and children of Mongolian diplomatic staff stationed in the DPRK presented floral bouquets to Elbegdorj and his wife.

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation (R) meet with Kim Yong Nam and senior DPRK officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation (R) meet with Kim Yong Nam and senior DPRK officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Following the delegation’s arrival, Elbegdorj and senior Mongolian officials met with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.  Attending the meeting from the DPRK were Pak Ui Chun, Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kim Jong Suk (Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries), Pak Kil-yo’n (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), Kwang Il Ryong, Hong Kyu and other DPRK officials.  According to KCNA, “both sides exchanged views on the issue of boosting the bilateral relations of friendship and other issues of mutual concern” during the meeting and the “talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.”

Post and Telecom Workers Hold National Meeting

18 Sep
Members of the DPRK central leadership attend the national meeting of post and telecom workers at the 25 April House of Culture on 16 September 2013.  Seen in attendance (L-R) are: DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol, KWP Secretary Kwak Pom Gi, KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam, DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju and Minister of the People's Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Members of the DPRK central leadership attend the national meeting of post and telecom workers at the 25 April House of Culture on 16 September 2013. Seen in attendance (L-R) are: DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol, KWP Secretary Kwak Pom Gi, KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam, DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju and Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

A national meeting of managers and workers in the DPRK’s post and telecommunications sector was held at the 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 16 September (Monday).  Attending the meeting were DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju, Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Ki Nam, DPRK Vice Premier Jon Sung Hun, Chief KWP Provincial Committee Secretaries along with “officials of party and armed forces organs, the Cabinet, working people’s organizations, ministries, national institutions, party and power organs of provinces, cities and counties, exemplary personnel in posts and telecommunications service and officials of relevant units.”

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju reads a letter from DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong at a national meeting of post and telecom workers in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju reads a letter from DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong at a national meeting of post and telecom workers in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK  Vice Premier Jon Sung Hun reads the meeting's official report (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Vice Premier Jon Sung Hun reads the meeting’s official report (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of participants at a national meeting of workers in the post and telecom sector, held at 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

View of participants at a national meeting of workers in the post and telecom sector, held at 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

 

View of the leadership platform at the post and telecom workers' meeting in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013.  In this image are: Ju Kyu Chang, Ro Yu Chol, Kwak Pom Gi, Kim Ki Nam, Pak Pong Ju, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Mun Kyong Dok and Gen. Choe Pu Il (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of the leadership platform at the post and telecom workers’ meeting in Pyongyang on 16 September 2013. In this image are: Ju Kyu Chang, Ro Yu Chol, Kwak Pom Gi, Kim Ki Nam, Pak Pong Ju, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Mun Kyong Dok and Gen. Choe Pu Il (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Pak Pong Ju read a letter by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) “On Bringing About a Fresh Turn in Posts and Telecommunications” which said that “Generalissimos Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) advanced Chuch’e-oriented idea and theory concerning the posts and telecommunications service, indicated orientation and ways of modernizing it as required by the developing revolution and devoted themselves to its modernization” and clarified tasks and ways for the personnel in the posts and telecommunications service to preserve and glorify the immortal exploits of the Generalissimos for the development of Chuch’e-oriented posts and telecommunications and put the service on the world’s advanced level as early as possible by devotedly carrying out the WPK’s policy on posts and telecommunications.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un’s letter also “called on all the participants to bring about a fresh turn in the service by successfully discharging their honorable duties and missions in the spirit of devotedly serving the country and people.”  Jon Sung Hun delivered the meeting’s report which “referred to the remarkable development made by the service thanks to the patriotic devotion and energetic leadership provided by the Generalissimos” and said that “the posts and telecommunications service has successfully performed its mission and role in the important work for building a thriving nation and improving the people’s living standard.”  A series of speakers followed the reading of the letter and report.

Kim Jong Un Visits 11 May Factory, Views Mobile ‘Phone Handset

11 Aug
Kim Jong Un gives instructions on production at the 11 May Factory, after viewing the "Arirang" model handheld 'phone.  Seen in attendance is Ri Jae Il (L), a KWP senior deputy department director and close aide to Kim Jong Un (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un gives instructions on production at the 11 May Factory, after viewing the “Arirang” model handheld ‘phone. Seen in attendance is Ri Jae Il (L), a KWP senior deputy department director and close aide to Kim Jong Un (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the assembly shop at 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the assembly shop at 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 10 August (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) toured the 11 May Factory.  He was accompanied by Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Deputy Department Directors Ri Jae Il (Ri Ch’ae-il) and Kim Pyong Ho (Kim Pyo’ng-ho).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearances were visits to the construction sites of the Mirim Riding Club and Munsu Wading Pool.

A view of the "Aririang" model phone handset, produced by the 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

A view of the “Aririang” model phone handset, produced by the 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un toured various shops in the factory, including the assembly shop. He was briefed about the mobile ‘phone handset model “Arirang.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “highly appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm with which the officials and employees of the factory laid a solid foundation for mass-producing hand phones by building a new modern hand phone production process” and “praised them for developing an application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security.”  After being briefed about the “Arirang” phone’s performance he said “that a hand phone is convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive” and “these hand phones will be very convenient for their users as their camera function has high pixels.”  KCNA reported that production of the “Arirang” ‘phones began “only a few days ago and were in high demand by people.”  Whilst looking at the logo on the ‘phone, Kim Jong Un said “that mass-production of goods with DPRK trademark can instill national pride and self-respect into the Korean people” and “how nice to see hand phones being successfully produced with indigenous technology.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said that “only when the quality of products is improved while boosting their production, people will like home-made things and they will be in high demand” then issued instructions for the 11 May Factory.

Kim Jong Un previously visited the 11 May Factory in late July 2011 with his father, late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).

Kim Jong Un (R) visits the 11 May Factory with his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, in July 2011 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap).

Kim Jong Un (R) visits the 11 May Factory with his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, in July 2011 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap).

DPRK Cabinet Holds Second Plenum

16 Jul
DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) and DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol (2), seen touring a KPA livestock breeding facility in May 2013, delivered the reports at the DPRK Cabinet's second plenary meeting held on an disclosed date in July 2013 (Photo: KCNA file photo).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) and DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol (2), seen touring a KPA livestock breeding facility in May 2013, delivered the reports at the DPRK Cabinet’s second plenary meeting held on an disclosed date in July 2013 (Photo: KCNA file photo).

DPRK state media reported on 13 July (Saturday) that the DPRK Cabinet held its second plenary meeting (plenum) in 2013.  Neither Korean nor English news items on the Cabinet meeting disclosed the date (KCNA reported on 15 July [Monday] that the meeting was “held recently”) of the plenary session.  Attending the meeting were DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju and Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol, “senior functionaries of the organs under direct control of the cabinet; directors of management bureaus; chairman of provincial, municipal, and country people’s committees; chairmen of provincial rural economic committees; chairman of provincial district planning committees; directors of provincial and daily necessities industrial management bureaus” and attending as observers were “managers of major plants and enterprises.”

The first agenda item at the Cabinet meeting was “death defyingly implementing the militant tasks set forth in respected and beloved Comrade Kim Jong Un’s historic letter of appeal ‘Let Us Usher in a New Heyday on All Fronts of Socialist Construction by Creating the Masikryo’ng [Masik Pass] Speed.”  Premier Pak Pong Ju delivered a report on the first agenda item.  The Cabinet meeting’s second agenda item was a report on “the fulfillment of the people’s economic plan in the first half of the year and on measures for successfully fulfilling the people’s economic plan in the third and fourth quarters.  Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol reported on the second agenda item.

After the reports were delivered, speeches were delivered by the plenary meeting’s participants.  According to KCNA, Pak, Ro and the meeting’s speakers said “soldier-builders on Masik Pass are pushing forward several projects in a three dimensional way and breaking levels and records set in the past amid a high- pitched drive for creating the ‘speed on Masik Pass,’” that “reclaimers of the Sep’o tableland made shining achievements with the goal to reclaim more than 50 000 hectares of grassland and finish the construction of stock-breeding management center within this year” and that “fresh successes and innovations are being made in the construction of major projects including the construction of the Ch’o’ngch’o’ngang Power Stations in Tiers and apartment houses for scientists.”  According to Minju Joson, all participants of the expanded meeting of the cabinet plenary session renewed their firm resolve to achieve great successes in this meaningful year’s economic work by thoroughly implementing the militant tasks set forth in the respected and beloved marshal’s New Year Address and historic letter of appeal.”

KCNA also reported that the meeting’s speakers noted that “unprecedented production swing is being effected in the different sectors of the national economy amid the efforts to carry out the tasks advanced by Marshal Kim Jong Un in his New Year Address and appeal” and said “the service personnel and people of the DPRK are faced with the heavy yet responsible tasks to usher in a new heyday on all fronts of socialist construction by working hard to create the “speed on Masik Pass” in hearty response to the historic appeal made by the Marshal while carrying through the tasks laid out in his New Year Address.”  The meeting’s reporters and speakers also said that “in the midst of a hot wind of productive upsurges fiercely sweeping through all sectors of the people’s economy, including light industry and agriculture — the main fronts of this year’s economic construction — and the four leading sectors, the Ministry of Coal Industry, the Ministry of Machine Industry, and many other units overfulfilled the people’s economic plan in the first half of the year, and brilliant success was achieved particularly in fulfilling the June people’s economic plan through the vigorous struggle of the functionaries and working people of various sectors of the people’s economy who rose up vigorously, holding high the respected and beloved marshal’s historic letter of appeal” and that “the production of key industrial products increased amid a struggle to fulfill the people’s economic plan by each index during the first half of the year.”

The Cabinet plenary meeting’s speakers and debate participants “unanimously emphasized that all these achievements are the results of the wise leadership of the respected and beloved marshal, who clearly indicated the direction and ways of doing the economic work in this meaningful year’s New Year Address, led various sectors of the people’s economy by the hand every step of the way in the course of giving them on-the-spot guidance despite being so busy with leading the military-first revolution, and roused millions of soldiers and people to achieve great innovation and great leap by issuing his historic letter of appeal.”  In the official report of the Cabinet meeting,  Minju Joson quoted Kim Jong Un’s remark that “it is our party’s intention and determination to raise a hot wind of great innovation and great leap throughout the country by following and learning from the indomitable fighting spirit and fighting traits displayed by soldiers in the construction of the Masik Pass Skiing Ground.”  According to KCNA after the reports, speeches and debates the DPRK Cabinet “adopted a relevant decision.”

The DPRK Cabinet resolved that “firm priority should be given to the equipment and materials needed for construction over carrying out construction work and should be responsibly supplied so that the Masik Pass soldier-builders can finish building the Masik Pass Skiing Ground within this year as intended by the respected and beloved marshal.”  To that end the Cabinet instructed that “the building materials, metal, and forestry industrial sectors and other sectors should supply cement, steel materials, logs, and other materials needed for construction in a timely manner, and the machine industrial sector and other units should responsibly fulfill the tasks of supplying equipment by meticulously carrying out the production organization and command, and support the construction both materially and morally.”

The DPRK Cabinet also resolved that using the Masik Pass Skiing Ground workers as model, “important construction projects should be further accelerated, including the Sep’o tableland reclamation battle, the construction of the terraced Ch’o’ngch’o’n River Power Plant, Mt Paektu Military-First Youth Power Plant, and Wo’nsan Army-People Power Plant, the construction of Munsu Wading Pool, and the reconstruction and repair of the sports village in Ch’o’ngch’un Street” and that “relevant units should carry out all construction work strictly in accordance with the requirements of technical regulations and standard construction methods and decisively reinforce the struggle to improve the construction quality and construction supervision work, thereby erecting all buildings and other structures at the best level as monumental creations of the times, and supply units should unconditionally give priority to supplying the building materials over carrying out construction work.”

The Cabinet meeting also “presented a task of fiercely raising fiery winds of great innovation and great leap in the leading sectors of the the people’s economy above all else.”  The coal industry “should give firm priority to prospecting and tunneling, expand coal production capacity by accelerating the development of new coal mines and pits, and increase coal production by actively introducing advanced coal mining methods.”  The electrical power industry “should concentrate its efforts on operating existing power generating facilities at full capacity and systematically increase electric power production by mapping out measures for increasing the efficiency of power generating facilities.”

In order for “efforts. . .into shoring up” the metal industry the electric power and coal industries, in cooperation with the Ministry of Railways “should unconditionally produce and supply the electric power and coal needed for production at iron works and steel mills according to plan and channel efforts to materials transport.”  The metal industry should also “shold fast to the chuch’e-orientation of metal industry as a lifeline and put spurs to the production of steel materials.”   The Ministry of Railways should also “further increase the transport capacity by intensifying the production and repair of locomotives and freight cars, and meticulously carry out the transport organization and command to establish a strong discipline like the army, thereby further increasing the railway cargo transport.”

The DPRK Cabinet’s plenary meeting also “placed key emphasis on the need to bring about productive upsurges in light industrial and agricultural sectors — the main fronts of this year’s economic construction.”  The country’s light industries “should adhere to the normalization of the people’s consumer goods production as a priority task and operate the modernized people’s consumer goods production bases at full capacity by meticulously carrying out the work for the supply of raw materials and other materials, and make a strong drive for improving the product quality, thereby making sure that more consumer goods are supplied to the people in this meaningful year, while also further accelerating the technical reconstruction of light industrial plants.”

With regard to food production, the DPRK’s agricultural sector “should do the fertilization and management of crops thoroughly in line with the demands of the chuch’e-based farming method without losing the momentum created in finishing the rice planting and sowing the seeds of field crops at the right time, thereby fulfilling this year’s grain production goal without fail” and the country’s fishing industry should “increase fish production by harmoniously combining deep-sea fishing and inshore fishing and expand sea farming, while more firmly consolidating the material and technical foundation of the fisheries industry.”

The cabinet meeting called for the machine-building industry to “make good use of the existing production foundations to produce more machine tools, vehicles, tractors, and various other machine products, and actively develop new modern machine products”, for the chemical industries to “increase the fertilizer production and put spurs to the production of synthetic fibers and synthetic resins, thus thoroughly achieving localization of light industrial raw materials,” for the building materials and forestry industries to “normalize the production at existing cement factories and increase log production” and for mining industries to “decisive increase the production of various minerals and processed products.”

On the matter of science and technology the DPRK Cabinet “indicated the need for all sectors and units of the people’s economy to vigorously carry out the battle of breaking through the ultra-cutting edge, holding high the party’s intention” saying that it “is necessary to decisively improve and reinforce guidance over the work of science and technology in line with the demands of the development of reality, firmly organize specialized scientific research institutes, reinforce the research and development activities of universities, and decisively increase the technology and product development capabilities of factories and enterprises” and that “investment in the work of science and technology should be increased, and the social traits of attaching importance to science and technology should be established in the whole country, while firmly adhering to the work for guaranteeing the working and living conditions of scientists and technicians.”  The Cabinet also “set forth important tasks that arise in thoroughly implementing the party’s strategic line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of a nuclear armed forces,” but did not disclose what those “tasks” were.

The Cabinet plenary meeting also addressed “issues of provincial, municipal, and county people’s committees revitalizing local industries according to the characteristics of their local areas; vigorously waging a struggle to develop all cultural fields, including education, public health, literature and art, and sports, to the level of an advanced civilized country; and all functionaries and working people inscribing Kim Jong Il patriotism deep on their hearts and sprucing up their villages, streets, and workplaces and parks and pleasure grounds in line with the demands of the military-first era and normalizing their management and operation, thereby bringing about a turnabout in the work for putting a new face on the land in this meaningful year.”

The DPRK Cabinet also reiterated its role “for further enhancing the responsibility and role of the cabinet and the functionaries of economic guidance organs” and “emphasized the need to resolve all issues that arise in the economic work by concentrating them on the cabinet according to the demands of the cabinet system, the system centered on the cabinet; the need to establish a strong discipline and order of unconditionally executing the cabinet’s decisions and instructions; and the need for economic guidance functionaries to make sure that leaps and innovations take place in every sentry post, while taking the lead in guiding the work of their respective sectors and units.”

DPRK Internet Access Blocked

14 Mar
(KCTV file screengrab)

(KCTV file screengrab)

Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported on 13 March (Wednesday) that the DPRK was blocked from accessing the Internet.  The several thousand DPRK citizens with dedicated connections experienced trouble accessing the Internet and a number of DPRK websites (such as KCNA the Korea Sports Foundation)  on the (.kp) top-level domain [IDNccTLD] could be neither be accessed nor viewed.  For several hours on 13 March, some state media sites on the (.kp) domain were viewable.  On 11 March (Monday) the website for the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun had provided a message in Korean that said there were problems with its server.  ITAR-TASS, which maintains a correspondent in Pyongyang, reported: “Access to the Internet was blocked in North Korea on Wednesday. According to an informed source, Internet resources of the country have come under a powerful hacker attack from abroad.”

Stamp Issued of Kim Jong Un Delivering New Year’s Day Address

22 Feb
A stamp of Kim Jong Un delivering the New Year's Day Address on 1 January 2013, the first stamp issued in 70 years of a DPRK supreme leader delivering a New Year's Day message.  The characters below the image read "Comrade Kim Jong Un, Ryo'ngdoja (supreme leader)  of our party and people delivering the historic new year's address." (Photo: KCNA/DPRK State Stamp Bureau)

A stamp of Kim Jong Un delivering the New Year’s Day Address on 1 January 2013, the first stamp issued in 70 years of a DPRK supreme leader delivering a New Year’s Day message. The characters below the image read “Comrade Kim Jong Un, Ryo’ngdoja (supreme leader) of our party and people delivering the historic new year’s address.” (Photo: KCNA/DPRK State Stamp Bureau)

DPRK state media reported on 20 February (Wednesday) that the State Stamp Bureau issued a sheetlet of stamps, which included one of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) delivering the New Year’s Day Address on 1 January 2013.  According to KCNA “the sheetlet is made up of four individual stamps featuring the tasks set forth in the New Year address, on the theme of ‘Let us bring about a radical turn in the building of an economic giant with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in conquering space!’, the slogan laid down in the New Year address.”  KCNA also reported that other stamps “with serviceperson, worker, peasant and student arm in arm pictured with letters reading ‘The great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism’, shows the fixed will of the Korean army and people to increase the political and military might of the country in every way, rallied closer around the Workers’ Party of Korea, this year marking the 65th DPRK birthday and the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in the Fatherland Liberation War” and one stamp is “on the subject of ‘Agriculture and light industry constitute the main front in this year’s economic construction’ stresses the idea that a production upsurge should be effected in coal, power and metal industries and railway transport, the four major leading sectors of the national economy, and a springboard for building an economic power should be laid by dint of science and technology.”

Stamp sheetlet showing different political slogans for the year 2013, publicly released by the DPRK State Stamp Bureau on 20 February 2013 (Photos: KCNA/DPRK State Stamp Bureau)

Stamp sheetlet showing different political slogans for the year 2013, publicly released by the DPRK State Stamp Bureau on 20 February 2013 (Photos: KCNA/DPRK State Stamp Bureau)

According to KCNA, “two other stamps carry the ideas that building a highly civilized country should be sped up to open up a fresh age of civilization in the 21st century and Korea’s reunification be realized on the basis of priority to the nation’s interests and the stand for national unity through removal of confrontation between the north and the south and implementation of the north-south joint declarations.”

On 20 February Japanese-based DPRK media outlet Choso’n Sinbo reported that “According to a relevant official, this is the first instance in the nearly 70-year history of North Korean postage stamps that a stamp bearing the image of the supreme leader giving the New Year’s address has been issued.  Small stamps sized 75 x 85 mm and 51 x 39 mm respectfully contain an image of the marshal giving the New Year’s address to all the people on the first morning of the New Year and says, “Comrade Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of our party and people, delivering the historic first New Year’s address.”  Choso’n Sinbo also reported that “On stamps with content on striving toward building a socialist civilized country, a soccer player and a Moranbong Band musician were depicted, and on a stamp on the theme of fatherland reunification, the words ‘resolution of confrontation between North and South,’ ‘the nation first,’ ‘placing importance on the nation,’ ‘national unity,’ and “implementation of the 15 June Joint Declaration and 4 October Declaration” were prominently inscribed, along with a map of Korea and a picture of a dove, the symbol of peace” and “Stamps on themes saying ‘Agriculture and light industry are the main fronts of this year’s economic construction’ and ‘Strengthen political and military might in every way’ represent the tasks of the four leading sectors of the people’s economy — including coal, electric power, metals, and rail transport — the launch of practical satellites, and the Sep’o Tableland reclamation battle.”

DPRK TV News Reports on Richardson-Schmidt Visit to Grand People’s Study House and KIS University

10 Jan
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch'e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch’e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

DPRK state media aired a brief story (33 seconds) at the end of its 9 January (Wednesday) television newscast which showed former Governor Bill Richardson, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen and members of their delegation touring the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang.  The television news story showed Richardson and members of the delegation visiting a circulation desk at the DPRK’s national library, using the library’s computer terminals and taking souvenir photographs of the Chuch’e Tower from the study house’s balcony.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People's Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People's Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People’s Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People's Study House, the DPRK's national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People’s Study House, the DPRK’s national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

DPRK state media also aired a brief story (32 seconds) on Gov. Richardson, Mr. Schmidt and the delegation touring the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University toward the end of the 8 January (Tuesday) newscast.

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University.  Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University. Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University's E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University’s E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

During its stay in the DPRK, the delegation met with several groups of DPRK officials, including a vice minister of foreign affairs, and visited the Korea Computer Center and the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.  With the exception of these two brief stories on Korean Central Television [KCTV] news and several short news items in DPRK print media, the delegation’s visit was a low-visibility event in DPRK state media reporting.

The delegation departed Pyongyang on 10 January (Thursday) and arrived in Beijing.  Richardson said that DPRK officials assured him at one meeting that a 44-year old Korean American who was arrested and detained since early November 2012 was in good health and would soon be put on trial.  Richardson also said that during an interaction with DPRK officials he asked the country to stop nuclear and missile testing.  At a media availability in Beijing, Richardson and Schmidt said that they encouraged DPRK officials to expand access to the internet and cell ‘phones.  According to The Guardian Richardson said that “The internet is important for the welfare of the North Korean people, to expand mobile technology, to expand cell phone use” and Schmidt remarked that “As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world, their economic growth and so forth, and it will make it harder for them to catch up economically.”

Software and IT Exhibition Opened

18 Oct

An overview of exhibition booths at the 23rd National Software Contest and Exhibition which opened at the Three Revolutions Exhibition complex in Pyongyang on 18 October 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 18 October (Thursday) that the 23rd National Software Contest and Exhibition opened at the Three Revolutions Exhibition facility in Pyongyang at which 1,300 computer programs developed by DPRK engineers and technicians will be displayed.  The exhibition’s opening ceremony was held on Thursday at which Chairman of the State Science and Technology Commission Choe Sang Gon said “that the contest and exhibition would offer a good opportunity for introducing the achievements and experience gained in the course of developing Korean-style programming technology and updating production processes.”

KCNA reported that “contest and exhibition are divided into 18 panels including system, artificial intelligence and sci-tech design and calculation” and “will also involve a contest in English-Korean and Chinese-Korean translation programs and anti-virus programs.”  According to KCNA the programs “include valuable process-controlling programs, devices and cells helpful to developing light industry and agriculture, improving the standard of the people’s living, increasing production in power, coal and metal industries and railway transport and various other fields and improving the transportation” and “among them are achievements made by industrial establishments, ministries and national institutions in elevating the level of IT which leader Kim Jong Il praised as pace-setters in the industrial revolution in the new century, and programs presented by teachers, researchers and students of the universities, colleges and centers for training computer talents.”

DPRK citizens view software being exhibited during the 23rd National Software Contest and Exhibition in Pyongyang on 18 October 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

(Photo: KCNA)

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