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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

16:00 April 09, 2021

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

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N. Korea slams Japanese textbooks for distorting history, justifying invasion

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Sunday blasted Japan for approving history textbooks that distort history and glorify Tokyo's imperial past.

The North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) noted that those school textbooks have left out details of Japanese atrocities during its colonial period while also renewing territorial claims to Dokdo, South Korea's easternmost islets.

"The textbooks define Japanese invasions as a step toward civilization and prosperity," the KCNA said. "Japan has established foreign invasions as the basis of its military strategy, and will do anything to accomplish its goals."

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N. Korea urges efforts to localize production to develop self-reliant chemical industry

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called Monday for the localized production of industrial catalysts, as the country steps up efforts to resuscitate its chemical industry that has remained listless after a boom in the 1980s.

"Until the 1980s when the chemical industry was growing vibrant ... dozens of catalyst types were produced on our own," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the ruling Workers' Party, said.

It pointed out that the industry currently faces many challenges due to a lack of "strategic management" and "practical measures," as well as a lack of scientific research in developing and using new catalysts.

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N. Korea decides not to participate in Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus concerns

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Tuesday it will not participate in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics to protect its athletes against the coronavirus pandemic, dashing South Korea's hopes to use the games to kickstart the stalled peace process with Pyongyang.

The decision was made during a general assembly meeting of the North's Olympic Committee held in Pyongyang on March 25, according to Sports in the DPRK Korea, a website on sports affairs in North Korea.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games during the general assembly to protect our athletes from the global health crisis situation related to the coronavirus as proposed by committee members," the website said.

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N. Korea slams U.N. report on child malnutrition as 'sheer lie'

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Tuesday slammed a recent U.N. report on child malnutrition in the country as a "sheer lie," saying it will need to review whether humanitarian assistance can "truly help us."

The director of the Research Institute for Nutrition Care of Children from the North's health ministry made the statement in response to the panel of experts report that close to 100,000 kindergarten-aged children in the North lack access to fortified foods due to border restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic.

"I, as a person responsible for nutrition care of the children in our country, categorically reject this information, affirming that it, a sheer lie, is utterly baseless," the director said in the statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency.

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N.K. urges 'cell secretaries' to root out anti-socialist practices

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged secretaries of "party cells," the grassroots units of the ruling Workers' Party, to help root out anti-socialist and non-socialist practices, state media reported Wednesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also pointed out "shortcomings" in the work of "party cells" during his opening speech at the conference of cell secretaries on Tuesday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Party cells refer to the party's most elementary units consisting of five to 30 members.

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N. Korea highlights role of WHO amid coronavirus pandemic

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's Cabinet newspaper called Wednesday for strengthening the role of the World Health Organization, saying the country should work closely with the organization to improve the health of its people.

The Minju Joson paper made the case in a commentary published on the occasion of World Health Day, saying that billions of people around the world lack access to basic medical services despite big progress in medicine and science technology.

"As the COVID-19 swept across the world recently, a number of lives were lost and it has had a serious negative impact on the development of our society and economy," the paper said in the commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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N. Korea slams Japan for referring to East Sea as 'Sea of Japan'

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday slammed Japan for using the term "Sea of Japan" to refer to the East Sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, accusing Tokyo of harboring a "wild ambition for invading Korea."

Earlier, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson used the name East Sea in a statement issued after North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the waters. After protest from Japan, the U.S. military later changed the statement to call the waters the "Sea of Japan."

"Days ago, a deputy chief Cabinet secretary of Japan, at a recent press conference, insisted that 'Sea of Japan' is the only official term internationally recognized, saying it is inappropriate to use the term East Sea," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in commentary.

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N.K. leader calls on ruling party to wage tougher 'Arduous March' amid prolonged sanctions

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called on the ruling Workers' Party to wage a tougher "Arduous March" to relieve its people of economic woes as he concluded a conference of the party's grassroots leaders, state media said Friday.

Kim warned the cell secretaries and members of the party to brace themselves for the many "obstacles and difficulties" that lie ahead, pointing to the harsh period of the Arduous March in the 1990s, when the country suffered from extreme poverty and massive starvation.

"I made up my mind to ask the WPK organizations at all levels, including its Central Committee, and the cell secretaries of the entire party to wage another more difficult 'Arduous March' in order to relieve our people of the difficulty," Kim was quoted as saying in the official Korean Central News Agency.
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