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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

16:00 November 20, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

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N. Korea stays mum on Biden's victory in uncommonly long silence on U.S. election

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has stayed mum for more than a week on Joe Biden's election as U.S. president, an uncommonly long silence on the results of such a major political event that could have ramifications on its relations with Washington.

Observers say the North appears to be careful in making any response to the election results as President Donald Trump, who has boasted of friendly relations with leader Kim Jong-un, has yet to concede defeat.

As of early Sunday morning, North Korea's media outlets have not mentioned the U.S. presidential election, nor have they reported on its results or carried any message toward Washington.

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N.K. leader presides over politburo meeting in first public appearance in 25 days

SEOUL, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party in his first public appearance in 25 days and discussed nationwide anti-coronavirus measures, state media said Monday.

During the enlarged politburo meeting held Sunday, Kim discussed "COVID-19 and the state anti-epidemic situation and clarified the tasks for the Party, military and economic fields to further tighten the emergency anti-epidemic front," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

He also stressed "the need to keep a high alert, build a tight blocking wall and further intensify the anti-epidemic work, being aware of the important responsibility for the security of the state and the well-being of the people," the KCNA added.

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N.K. paper demands Japan's apology, compensation for colonial-era atrocities

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Tuesday demanded Tokyo apologize for its colonial-era atrocities and compensate victims, as it marked the 115th anniversary of the signing of a treaty that led to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The treaty, which was signed on Nov. 17, 1905, deprived the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) of its diplomatic sovereignty and made the country a protectorate of imperial Japan. Japan has been criticized for various atrocities during the period, including forced labor and front-line sexual slavery.

"Imperial Japan used every possible way to completely destroy the Korean people in the past ... It forced some 8.4 million Korean adults into its invasion war and made them serve as cannon fodder and victimized them with slavery-like labor," the Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the North's ruling party, said.

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N. Korea seen following social distancing measures at theaters

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Koreans left every other seat empty at theaters this week in an apparent social distancing measure against the coronavirus pandemic, according to state media photos.

Photos released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday showed several performances in Pyongyang marking Mother's Day on Nov. 16, with empty seats in between audience members as part of social distancing measures.

A performance at the Pyongyang Circus Theatre showed every other seat empty at the center of the theater hall, while all seats on both sides of the hall were left empty.

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N. Korea slams U.N. Security Council for taking issue with its space program

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations has criticized the U.N. Security Council for labeling its outer space program as threats, calling the agency an "undemocratic organ devoid of impartiality."

Kim Song, the chief of the North Korean mission to the U.N., delivered a statement at the plenary meeting of the U.N. General Assembly session earlier this week, stressing the importance of reform of the U.N. agency for better representation of its member states.

"Until now even after 75 years of the founding of the United Nations, the Security Council does not extricate itself from the stigma of an undemocratic organ devoid of impartiality," Kim said, according to the statement posted on the North Korean foreign ministry's website.
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