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Year 2001 No. 131, July 27, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

London Political Forum Discusses Anti-Social Offensive in Education and the Way Forward

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

London Political Forum Discusses Anti-Social Offensive in Education and the Way Forward

The Imperialists Must Be Held Accountable for their Crimes against the Korean People

Cuba – 48th Anniversary of Attack on Moncada Barracks:
The Only Way

Korea and Cuba will emerge victorious, says Raul Castro Ruz

DPRK President Kim Yong Nam Visits Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Joint Communiqués

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London Political Forum Discusses Anti-Social Offensive in Education and the Way Forward

Each of the four invited speakers to the latest meeting of the London Political Forum, held at Marx House on July 25, described their experiences of the impact of the anti-social offensive in the field of education. As well as the problems of workers and professionals in education, the methods used to have their voices heard, and opposition to plans which harm education provision, were summed up in accounts of the campaigns and actions in defence of the right to education and of their livelihoods.

THE PROBLEMS IN FURTHER EDUCATION

Tee White, a Further Education teacher, described the problems caused by mergers of FE colleges and rationalisations of staff and services both of which are caused by the anti-social offensive in education, he said. The ramifications of this process are a gradual but clear reduction in quality of service offered to students side-by-side with threats to employees’ livelihoods. In Tee White’s view the concept of Further Education as a means by which adults and others could supplement their skills or knowledge is being manipulated to further the aims of big business. An example of this is the Learning and Skills Councils’ current focus in course planning and funding on the needs of business with uneven investment in business-orientated courses such as Information Systems and Technology and business studies.

With examples of the consequences to students and to teachers, Tee White explained ways in which opposition had been mounted in his place of work. In May, industrial action had been organised in order to defend the conditions of service of the teachers with further action being planned for October. Whilst the success of the May action was noted, issues such as how the teachers and staff become more involved in the discussions on how to defend their livelihoods and the quality of the education provided to services to students need to be addressed. In the speaker’s opinion the most important factor was that education should be provided as of right and to all.

THE DEMANDS IN SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

Special Educational Needs Teachers’ Assistant Sandra Moody, working at a primary school in South London, shared the problems which affected her field of education which involved teaching Early Years, Key Stage 1 children – those at Nursery and Reception age. Describing the school’s location, which served many children resident on a large housing estate replete with social problems, the pressing problems faced by pupils before they arrived at school became clear. Together with their educational obligations, Teachers and Teachers’ Assistants are obliged to address these social problems alongside their professional commitments. In this context the ratio of children is considerably higher that the 1:1 attention which was recommended, especially for children with special educational needs. Sandra was aware of the problems faced by the teachers, burdened with administrative and other non-teaching responsibilities, the result of which is that the majority of children relied heavily on the support and role of Teachers’ Assistants.

Through her descriptions of her work, Sandra showed the important role SEN Teachers’ Assistants play in Early Years education. Her examples showed that the situation in her own school, which is not unique, demands much more financial and other support to better equip staff to address the teaching and other issues faced by the children.

ANTI-SOCIAL OFFENSIVE IN UNIVERSITY SECTOR

Lisa Cravella, an Equalities Officer for public sector union UNISON at Middlesex University, illustrated the effects of the anti-social offensive in the University sector. She contrasted the word of the government with its actions where cuts in the resources given to the University sector decreased annually. This, linked with the abolition of student grants and its replacement with the loan system, had caused problems such as the downgrading of many Universities and the creation of an elitist tier of University education. Outsourcing of University support services, redundancies and rationalisations were the effects of this situation.

Recent action by staff had been taken against compulsory redundancies at Middlesex University and main unions UNISON and NATFHE had actively and creatively opposed the plans. Summing up the experience, the speaker anticipated that workers from NATFHE might be targeted. With this in mind she underlined the importance of co-ordinated and united campaigns of all staff as well ensuring that wider issues such as the attacks on the public sector are addressed.

Concluding, Lisa Cravella highlighted what she considered to be two important developments. Firstly, the issues taken up by people had been fragmented in the past and were now being seen as part of one big problem – exemplified by the protests against neo-liberal globalisation; and secondly, the notion of education as a public good imperative for any social advance should be emphasised. In this respect, the policy that education should be decided by the market was deepening the legitimacy crisis of the system, since this policy goes against the people’s will.

STRUGGLE AGAINST PRIVATISATION OF EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

Mike Barton of the Socialist Alliance and Waltham Forest Trades Council described the efforts of parents and teachers in the East London district to prevent the privatisation of educational services under the auspices of the government’s Private Public Partnership programme. Waltham Forest had been chosen together with two other Local Education Authorities as a pilot scheme for this privatisation by another name and the company selected to provide the services, EduAction, and its parent company Nord Anglia, it was reported, had a poor industrial relations record. Two important aspects emerged from Mike Barton’s descriptions of these events. One was that many local councils have recently altered their political decision-making structures to concentrate executive power in very few hands – a cabinet. Another is that opposition has come from the bottom up, from parents firstly, and as exemplified by a decision of each of the unions based at the Council’s Education Centre, UNISON, NUT and the T&G, to take industrial action in opposition to the plans. The parents’ initiatives especially, which included Action Groups, local school meetings, public meetings and lobbies of the council, were vital in highlighting the undemocratic nature of the privatisation process.

Summing up the experience, which included a recent one-day strike, Mike Barton said that although the changes had been railroaded through, a broad-based campaign had led the opposition. Campaigning skills had been improved in anticipation of an expected privatisation of Whipps Cross Hospital and council housing provision in Waltham Forest. In that same district the local council had privatised Refuse Collection and aspects of its Finance Services, and both had been returned to council control because of the poor services provided. With such examples, and those in education, Mike Barton felt the entire campaign against privatisation had potential – especially because of the changes in consciousness he had seen and the willingness of people to take action.

WHO SHOULD DECIDE?

A clear picture of the direction being followed by the government was seen in the experiences of the speakers, who worked in different parts of the region and in different levels of educational provision. The picture was of an identifiable programme being carried out by the government to deliver social programmes, such as education, to private companies as a source of profits. The opposition to the government’s programme also contained within it an articulation of the needs of the society for education as a right, free of charge and at the highest level, as part of the preparation of the younger generation to participate in building society as leaders and decision makers. As well as this the right of youth and adults to enlightenment through education was also stressed.

The thread which ran through each presentation and of the discussion period was one which underscored that the New Labour "Third Way" programme furthers the aim of the rich to destroy the notion of education as a right available to all, funded, equipped and resourced as a vital social programme. Within this, the government is attempting to make individuals responsible for what must be a social programme. A number of contributors to the discussion emphasised that space was being opened up for people to participate in discussing the way forward and what agenda was needed to work together to transform society. That people, rather than the political parties of the rich, should be the decision-makers was also part of this vision of the way forward. One participant emphasised that privileged access to centres of excellence should be ended.

The Chair, in his concluding remarks, reflecting the sentiments of the meeting, pointed out the importance of widening and deepening the discussion. The kind of meeting represented by the London Political Forum is very significant in that, in raising the level of political debate, it assists everyone involved in their struggles, gives people more confidence in the validity of their own experience, and opens up the perspectives for success in finding the way out of the crisis.

SPECIAL MEETING

The meeting concluded with the announcement of a special meeting of the London Political Forum on Wednesday, August 1, at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, to condemn the state violence and terror as seen in Genoa at the G8 summit. From the floor a member of the audience read out the moving words of the father of Carlo Giuliani who was killed by Italian police during the summit protests.

Article Index



The Imperialists Must Be Held Accountable for their Crimes against the Korean People

July 27 marks the 48th anniversary of the end of the US-led aggression against Korea under the UN Command, known as the Korean War. Not only US imperialism but also the British government must answer for their crimes against the Korean people. The three-year war, in which the Labour government sent troops to Korea to fight under the US command and unreservedly backed US imperialism right from the start, was one of the most brutal of the 20th century. In the course of the war, millions of civilians were killed and whole cities and villages razed to the ground through carpet-bombing and chemical warfare.

On July 27, 1953, the US was forced to sign an Armistice Agreement in Panmunjom with representatives of the Korean People's Army and Chinese People's Volunteers. The following day in a mass rally in Pyongyang, the leader of the Korean people Kim Il Sung said:

"The victory of our people in the Korean War was a victory of the revolutionary people over the imperialist reactionary forces, a victory of the revolutionary army over the aggressive armed forces of imperialism. It proved that the people who rise up for freedom, independence and progress, taking their destiny into their own hands under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist party, will never be conquered by any imperialist forces of aggression. It also exposed the vulnerability and corruptness of US imperialism, demonstrating to the oppressed nations of the world that US imperialism is by no means an unconquerable enemy and that they too can definitely fight and defeat it.

"In the Korean War, the US imperialists suffered an ignominious military defeat for the first time in their history – this spelt the beginning of the downward path for US imperialism."

The Korean people have continued their militant struggle against US imperialism and for the independent and peaceful reunification of their country, which was left divided after the war. The US continues to use the southern part of the peninsula as a military base for future military aggression against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the rest of Asia.

Every day, new evidence and reports come to light of the crimes committed by US imperialism in Korea. Since 1953, the US has refused to make war reparations and take responsibility for the brutal massacres of civilians that it committed and the damage caused by its economic blockade against the DPRK. The Korea International War Crimes Tribunal held in New York in June found the US guilty of crimes against humanity against the Korean people based on various investigations and the testimonies of survivors of the war. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were subjected to torture, rape and other crimes of the US troops.

As more and more of these atrocities committed by the US since before, during and after the war are revealed, people the world over are demanding that the US be held accountable for its crimes. In concrete terms, this means the US must officially apologise to the Korean people, pay reparations to compensate for the damages caused during the 56-year occupation, compensate the DPRK for losses due to the economic blockade, fully disclose information related to crimes committed by the US in Korea, withdraw all 37,000 troops from the peninsula and stop interfering in the internal affairs of the country. It is only by taking these measures that a lasting peace can be achieved in Korea.

Article Index



Cuba – 48th Anniversary of Attack on Moncada Barracks:

The Only Way

BY RAFAELA VAZQUEZ AND MARELYS VALENCIA

JULY 26, 1953, saw a singular event in 51 years of the island’s republican history. The country was shaken by rumours of an armed assault on the garrisons of Moncada in Santiago de Cuba and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in the city of Bayamo. There was talk of a group of around 120 youths, approximately 60 of whom were massacred during or after the event.

Fulgencio Batista’s regime unleashed a repression never seen before. Censorship initiated the suspension of constitutional rights, while the police arrested anyone they deemed suspicious. The government knew that what had occurred was no fortuitous event, but the match that could ignite the fuse of the new struggle; the generation led by Fidel Castro was the result of 50 years of confronting the derision of unpopular governments servile to the United States. The Centenary Generation, as they were later called, synthesised the ideas of the Revolution that had begun in 1868 and was truncated so many times.

Any historical episode contains the drama and disillusionment of the past. Cuba’s total independence had never been achieved; four centuries of colonisation were followed by a flawed Republic.

The particular situation in the ’40s and ’50s and the protagonists of that period – whether for or against the national interest – would be a definitive one. Let us look at the immediate and decisive antecedents of the landmark that initiated the way toward the real Revolution.

BATISTA APPEARS FOR THE FIRST TIME

It was 1933. After a general strike heralding the fall of the dictator Gerardo Machado, the US ambassador to Havana, Sommer Welles, was obliged to ask him to hand over power to a neutral figure who might enjoy the confidence of the nation.

On August 12 the dictator fled after discovering that significant sections of the armed forces were clamouring for a change of government and preparing a general uprising. As the streets overflowed with joy and retribution a new government was installed which lasted only 24 days.

Officers and soldiers of the armed forces executed another conspiracy: the Sergeants’ Plot, designed to defend non-commissioned officers’ interests, but it went further than that; it brought down the provisional government installed after Machado. One of the leaders of the uprising, shorthand sergeant Fulgencio Batista, came to the forefront. In four months he would become army chief of staff and the hand guiding the decade’s many presidents.

As leader of the army his control over the people of Cuba increased: prisons were full of political prisoners, embassies of refugees, planes loaded with exiles and the revolutionaries who had emerged in the fight against Machado were cruelly repressed.

THE DICTATOR ARRIVES

Batista first appeared in the presidency of the Republic after the fraudulent elections of 1940, backed by an alliance of various political groupings. His government increasingly benefited entrepreneurs and landowners, who took advantage of juncture of war in Europe as a means of making a lot of money. The corruption and misappropriation of funds provoked another wave of indignation in the country. The president’s unscrupulous enrichment, his links with the former anti-popular forces of the army and submission to Washington undermined his authority in the eyes of the nation.

In the 1944 elections, he supported candidate Carlos Saladrías but the latter’s failure took him to the United States. He spent four years there, long enough for feelings against him on the island to subside. In 1949 he created his own party, Unitary Action, subsequently Progressive Action, which brought together all the reactionary elements of the time. The US embassy gave him its blessing but the party did not have a leading role in the political sphere, taking second to last place in the 1951 electoral registers.

What to do next? Resort to the tried and tested method of crushing the democratic movement in Latin American countries: the coup d’état and a government that would not be dependent on elections or electoral fraud and could ignore the laws laid down in the Constitution.

On March 10, 1952, Batista and his military entourage forcibly seized control of the nation’s destiny; the people faced an irremediable situation. To that end, the general used the army which had been created, trained and instructed by the United States ever since it was founded at the beginning of the Neo-colonial Republic.

Once in power the dictator annulled the Constitution and dissolved Congress. Thus the half-century republican way was arrested. Political bankruptcy, the crisis in the country’s economic structure and the intensification of the class struggle provided the evidence of a developing national crisis.

The Cuban population had doubled, which led to widespread unemployment. Meanwhile, the number of sugar mills remained static and the price of sugar was falling way below its value. The number of people was growing but not prosperity: imported items increased constantly due to US domination of the markets.

By the end of the ’40s, farms of 400 hectares or more accounted for more than 59.9% of land or 73.3% of the country’s cultivatable land. One third of that land was concentrated in the hands of eight percent of the owners. The campesinos, the real cultivators, did not own it. Eviction was a fashionable word in rural areas.

The death of Chibás was the most transcendental event of the latter days of the constitutional period. The significance of his suicide by shooting on the CMQ radio where he dealt his final blow, as he himself described it, extended beyond that moment.

General Batista’s coup d’état was approaching.

AFTER THE COUP

The Batista government exceeded all its predecessors as far as handing over the island’s wealth to the United States was concerned. Its policy was to accentuate the benefits of the monopolies to the detriment of national sectors and particularly the poor.

Agreements were signed with the United States favouring an increase in its profits; the Cuban Telephone Company’s concession was renewed and it also received a loan from the national treasury. The government turned over practically all of the country’s fossil minerals to US companies, as well as authorising the sale of gasoline within the national sector. It also created conditions for exporting nickel plus cobalt. Thus the third most important export market after sugar and tobacco passed entirely into foreign hands.

By 1953 US investments in the country exceeded $756 million USD. This economic control strengthened the influence of US ideas, demonstrated in teaching methods, the arts, control of the media and the country’s spiritual life.

Tourism became the most direct route to the American way of life. Casinos, brothels, clubs and bars became the playground of the rich and Mafiosi from the island’s northern neighbour.

THE ADVENT OF A NEW GENERATION

Then came 1953 and the nation’s youth bore aloft their torches in the historic protest of January 28, the centennial anniversary of José Martí, the apostle of Cuban independence. It was joined by the Women’s Civil Front, the workers and other organisations. The wave spread throughout the country.

Among the student population the fight against Batista took an active course and the University of Havana became one of the main centres of opposition. Meetings were organised and the symbolic burials of the constitution organised in April 1952 by the Federation of University Students (FEU) against the statutes established by the regime had a particular resonance. At the same time the FEU organised a nation-wide symbolic pledge of loyalty to the Constitution. Thousands of Cubans supported the students’ initiative.

Although the student protests aroused the nation’s political conscience and its hope for change, they were unable to rock the pillar of the dictatorship.

Political parties fragmented, confusion and disorder reigned among them, they discouraged active participation by Cubans and sought US support. But Cuba had ceased entrusting its fate in that country long ago.

Agricultural workers made up almost half of the Cuban proletariat. They lived in palm-thatched huts. According to a 1957 study by the Catholic University Group, 30% of them had no beds to sleep in, over 40% were illiterate and 14% suffered from tuberculosis.

Around 23% of the island’s entire population were illiterate. The years of the dictatorship spelled out oblivion and greater poverty for society’s lower echelons.

CHIBAS: A LEADER WITH FORESIGHT

That was the heading of an article published in Bohemia, the country’s leading magazine, in August 1952, one year after the death of Eduardo Chibás, leader of the Cuban People’s Party (Orthodoxy Party).

There was great nostalgia for the man who stirred the national conscience at a time when government corruption had reached the point of cynicism; the Cuban Robespierre, as many called him. That August 16, 1951, when Chibás’ death was announced, some of his political enemies drank French brandy mixed with Peruvian cocaine.

Those who admired him predicted that that final shot would resound continually like an alarm bell every time unscrupulous politicians attempted to reach power through corruption.

To give just one example of the governments of 1944 to 1952, known as Authentic after the name of the party in power: between January and October 1948, José Manuel Alemán, head of general polytechnic education, misappropriated more than 20 million pesos. When he died in the United States in 1950, the Florida press brought to light the value of the fortune and property he had left behind. The former minister had amassed between $70 and $200 million USD without counting his investments in private companies.

In 1947, before this scandal, Chibás had already formed the Cuban People’s Party after leaving the Authentic party, a group that he had supported fervently when it started out and in which he became a leading figure.

Despite internal divisions that were also present in the Orthodoxy party, it could be described as a strong group. Its winning factor was its leader, a champion of and fighter for the truth.

The liberal and conservative forces were no longer able to rely on caudillos as they had done in the early days of the Republic, which is why some members of these groups joined the Orthodoxy party. Others, particularly young members of Orthodoxy, joined out of a desire for social and political reform.

One of the young people attracted by Chibás’ programme and his committed fight against hypocrisy and theft was Fidel Castro.

After the death of the Orthodoxy leader the party was never the same again. Even so, as the June ’52 elections approached, its victory became more and more apparent.

Although this triumph was not limited to putting an end to the ruling clique by opening up new perspectives in the struggle, it was not looked upon favourably by the dominating class.

Meanwhile, the Popular Socialist Party was subjected to fierce persecution. Nevertheless, that terrorisation was unable to break its links with the workers and the people.

The workers’ movement was divided. The army held all the power and, according to the notion circulated throughout the island, it was impossible to wage a successful struggle against this force.

The young people who were close to Chibás sought their own way. Fidel began to expose social and political outrages by various means. His enthusiasm for a radical change in the situation led him to create an autonomous revolutionary organisation, whose objective was to prepare for an armed uprising.

There was a significant difference between this movement and other political groups of the time, given that it not only supported a genuine battle against the dictatorship but also aimed to carry it through with the help of the masses. It wanted more than the reestablishment of the 1940 constitution; it wanted a profound socio-economic change that would break with the bourgeois order.

In mid-1952, under the leadership of Fidel and Abel Santamaria, a new clandestine organisation came into being. It did not have a name as yet. It was made up of young workers, students, employed persons, artisans, campesinos from different parts of the island, and had a sincere revolutionary vocation. It had around 1,500 members, followers of the ideas of Eduardo Chibás and José Martí.

The movement was divided into cells, mainly in the capital and in some western areas.

After notable personal sacrifices its members managed to purchase around 160 weapons. The plan of attack focused on the former Oriente province, after an analysis of combat techniques and the characteristics of the region’s mountains, as well as its distance from the capital, which would force the army to cross virtually the entire island. The group resolved to elect the Moncada and the San Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo.

Although it was a heavy setback in the military context, the attack of July 26, 1953, demonstrated that, in the existing conditions, armed action was the only way to fight. Hope returned in the year of José Martí’s centennial anniversary.

GRANMA INTERNATIONAL/ ONLINE EDITION

Article Index



Korea and Cuba will emerge victorious, says Raul Castro Ruz

Raul Castro Ruz, first vice-president of the council of state of the Republic of Cuba, second secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and minister of the revolutionary armed forces, spoke at a reception given at the Korean embassy in Cuba on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

We will always emerge victorious because we have a great party firmly based on the steadfast working class, farmers, students and intellectuals, and we are guided by the leaders Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro Ruz, he said.

Raul Castro noted that the two countries have suffered great hardship in recent years but they have overcome the difficulties thanks to the guidance of the outstanding leaders and the single-hearted unity of the party and people.

The US imperialists have persistently schemed to isolate and suffocate the two countries politically, militarily and economically for over 50 years, he added, but we will counter their moves even more bravely.

Article Index



DPRK President Kim Yong Nam Visits Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Kim Yong Nam, President of the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, recently paid official goodwill visits to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In his entourage were minister of foreign trade Ri Kwang Gun, minister of culture Kang Nung Su, vice-minister of foreign affairs Pak Kil Yon, vice-chairperson of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Hong Son Ok and other suite members.

Below, we reproduce the respective joint communiqués for your information.

Article Index



DPRK-Vietnam joint communiqué

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, paid an official goodwill visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from July 11 to 14, 2001, upon the invitation of Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

During the visit Kim Yong Nam received General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, had talks with President Tran Duc Luong and met with Nguyen Van An, chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam.

He laid a wreath before the mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh, went round it and visited a place where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked and some economic and cultural institutions in Hanoi and Haiphong.

At the talks and contacts both sides informed each other of the situation in their countries and exchanged broad-based views on further developing the traditional friendly relations between the two countries and on international and regional issues of mutual concern. Talks and meetings took place in a sincere and friendly atmosphere, at which a consensus of views was reached on all issues.

The Vietnamese side highly praised the Korean people for energetically pushing ahead with the building of a powerful nation despite the temporary economic difficulties caused by natural disasters under the wise guidance of leader Kim Jong Il, expanding international relations, pursuant to the independent foreign policy, and greatly contributing to ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

The DPRK side congratulated the Vietnamese people upon their great achievements made in the country's industrialisation and modernisation under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, highly estimated the results of the 9th Congress of the CPV and wished the Vietnamese people continued great successes in the work to successfully carry out the decisions of the Party Congress and make people rich and successfully build a powerful state, a democratic, civilised and fair society and prosperous socialist Vietnam under the leadership of the CPV headed by Nong Duc Manh.

It also estimated the government and people of Vietnam for pursuing a foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, expansion of diversification and multilateral external relations and thus expanding its relations with all countries and making a positive contribution to regional and global peace, stability, co-operation and development.

The Vietnamese side warmly hailed the historic inter-Korean summit and the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration adopted there, and highly estimated the efforts made by the DPRK government to implement the agreed points reached at the summit. It also expressed the belief that the Koreans in the north and the south of the country and overseas would surely realise their desire for the independent and peaceful reunification of the country.

The two sides noted with satisfaction that the traditional Korea-Vietnam relations of friendship and co-operation, which were provided by President Kim Il Sung and President Ho Chi Minh and stood the trials under the complicated and changed international situation, have been consolidated and developed steadily and excellently over the past 50 years.

The Vietnamese side expressed heartfelt thanks to the Korean party, government and people for their valuable support and encouragement to the Vietnamese people in the endeavours for the reunification of the country and the building of socialism.

The Korean side expressed heartfelt thanks to the Vietnamese party, government and people for having rendered support and encouragement to the Korean people in their efforts to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of the country and overcome natural disasters in the past years.

Both sides reached a consensus of views on the matter of further strengthening and developing the bilateral ties in the 21st century.

They agreed to hold intergovernmental talks so as to provide a legal basis for expanded bilateral exchange and co-operation in politics, the economy, culture and other fields.

They also agreed to maintain regular contacts at high and other levels and strengthen co-operation and exchange between governmental bodies and social organisations of the two countries.

The two sides agreed to hold the 4th meeting of the joint committee for bilateral co-operation in the economy, science and technology at an early date in order to develop the economic and trade relations between the two countries in keeping with their excellent political ties.

They agreed to continue strengthening exchange and co-operation in culture, education, public health, sports, tourism and other fields.

Both sides reached a consensus of views that the world situation is still becoming complicated in the 21st century, but co-operation for peace, stability and development remains a main trend.

The two sides agreed to contribute to building a new world based on independence, sovereignty, mutual respect, impartiality and equality for the peace, stability and development of humankind, expressed apprehensiveness over the dangerous moves which may spark a new arms race threatening regional and world peace and security and made a strong objection to pressure or interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

The sides agreed to strengthen co-operation and joint steps in such international and regional arena as the UN, the non-alignment movement and the ASEAN Regional Forum for mutual interests and peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world and make joint efforts to promote solidarity and co-operation with developing countries and establish an impartial, rational and equal international economic order among countries.

The sides highly praised the positive role of the ASEAN for regional stability and development.

The Korean side expressed support to the efforts of Vietnam, which plays a positive role in ASEAN activities.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at the results of an official goodwill visit to the socialist republic of Vietnam by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, and evinced the conviction that his current visit would make an important contribution to strengthening and developing the traditional relations of friendship and co-operation between the two countries.

President Kim Yong Nam expressed thanks to the Vietnamese side for according warm and cordial hospitality during his visit.

Kim Yong Nam invited President Tran Duc Luong to pay an official visit to the DPRK at a convenient time.

President Tran Duc Luong expressed thanks for the invitation and accepted it with pleasure. It was agreed to set the date of visit through a diplomatic channel.

DPRK-Laos Joint Communiqué

1. Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, paid an official goodwill visit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic from July 14 to 17, 2001, upon the invitation of Khamtay Siphandone, President of the LPDR.

2. During the visit Kim Yong Nam had talks with Khamtay Siphandone and received Boungnang Vorachit, prime minister of the Lao government, and Samane Vignaketh, chairman of the Lao National Assembly, when they paid courtesy calls on him.

He laid a wreath before the monument to unknown soldiers, visited the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum and cultural and economic establishments in Vientiane and Luang Prabang Province.

3. At the talks both sides informed each other of the situation in their countries and exchanged broad-based views on the issue of strengthening and developing the traditional friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries in all fields and on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The talks proceeded in a comradely and friendly atmosphere and a full consensus of views was reached on all the issues discussed.

4. Both sides noted with satisfaction that the traditional relations of friendship and co-operation between the two countries which were provided by President Kim Il Sung and Kaysone Phomvihane and are being carried forward by Khamtay Siphandone and leader Kim Jong Il are steadily growing stronger and developing in line with the desire of the two peoples and the trend of the times towards peace and co-operation.

5. The DPRK side congratulated the Lao people on their great successes made in their efforts to consolidate and develop the people's democratic system and achieve the progress of the country and estimated the daily rising role and position of the LPDR in the regional and international arena.

It hoped that under the wise leadership of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party headed by Khamtay Siphandone the fraternal Lao people would implement the decisions made at its 7th Congress and achieve greater successes in carrying out the socio-economic development plan by the year 2020 to turn the country into a modern industrial state from an less developed one.

6. The Lao side congratulated the Korean people on the shining successes made in their efforts to build a powerful nation despite economic difficulties caused by consecutive natural disasters and in the field of external relations pursuant to the independent foreign policy under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il.

It also supported and welcomed the historic inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang last year and the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration adopted there and estimated the efforts made by the Korean people for its implementation.

The Lao side stressed that the implementation of the joint declaration is in accord with the desire of all the Korean people to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of the country and greatly conducive to ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in other parts of Northeast Asia.

7. Both sides expressed their common desire to continue to strengthen and develop the traditional good relations of friendship and co-operation between the DPRK and the LPDR in political, economic, cultural and other fields.

It was in this spirit that during Kim's visit both sides signed the inter-governmental agreement on the prevention of double taxation on income and property, the agreement on co-operation in the field of public health and a 2001-2003 cultural exchange plan and agreed to continue pushing ahead with the work to conclude a treaty, agreements and contracts which would serve as a legal basis for developing bilateral co-operation in the future.

8. Both sides underscored the need to intensify the exchange of delegations of high and other levels between the two countries with a view to further expanding and developing bilateral co-operation.

9. Both sides recognised that peace, stability and co-operation for development are an international trend despite complicate world situation and agreed to strengthen support and co-operation in such international arena as the UN, the non-aligned movement and the ASEAN regional forum and other international organisations to this end.

10. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the results of Kim Yong Nam's official goodwill visit to Laos and manifested belief that his visit would make a great contribution to strengthening and developing the traditional friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries in all fields.

11. Kim Yong Nam expressed his heartfelt thanks to Khamtay Siphandone, the Lao government and people for according cordial and kind hospitality to him.

12. Kim Yong Nam invited Khamtay Siphandone to pay an official goodwill visit to the DPRK at a convenient time.

Khamtay Siphandone accepted it with pleasure.

It was agreed to fix the date of the visit through a diplomatic channel.

DPRK-Cambodia joint communiqué

1. Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, paid an official goodwill visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia from July 17 to 20, 2001, upon the invitation of Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia.

Kim Yong Nam received a warm welcome from King Norodom Sihanouk, the senate, the national assembly and the royal government and people of Cambodia.

2. Kim Yong Nam had talks with Norodom Sihanouk in an atmosphere of traditional friendship and mutual respect.

He received President of the senate Chea Sim, President of the National Assembly Norodom Ranariddh and prime minister of the government Hun Sen, when they paid courtesy calls on him.

During the visit he laid a wreath before the monument to independence and went round cultural and economic districts and historic relics in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Province.

3. Both sides noted with satisfaction that the friendly ties and the spirit of mutual understanding and respect between the two countries provided by president Kim Il Sung and King Norodom Sihanouk have steadily grown stronger, and agreed to further develop the traditional relations of friendship and co-operation between the two countries in this spirit.

Both sides exchanged views on current regional and international issues and a full consensus of views was reached on all the issues discussed.

4. Both sides agreed to further expand and strengthen the bilateral co-operation in the domains of mutual concern such as economy, culture, education, science and sports and boost bilateral co-operation in such regional and international arena as regional organisations, the UN and the non-aligned movement.

5. Both sides reiterated their commitments to abide by the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in others’ internal affairs, and the principle of peaceful co-existence stipulated in the UN Charter, the non-aligned movement and in international laws.

6. The Korean side warmly congratulated the Cambodian people on having achieved national reconciliation, harmony and unity under the wise and devoted leadership of Norodom Sihanouk. It also warmly congratulated the royal government of Cambodia on having achieved successes in socio-economic rehabilitation and reconstruction by realising peace and the socio-political and economic stability under the leadership of prime minister Hun Sen and expressed support to the government in implementing its policies which call for great efforts to eradicate poverty and exalt the Khmer culture and tradition.

It highly appreciated the royal government of Cambodia for developing friendly and co-operative relations with other countries on the principle of sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity and non-interference in others’ internal affairs and equality and reciprocity.

7. The Cambodian side warmly congratulated the Korean people on the successes made in the efforts to overcome temporary economic difficulties caused by natural disasters and build a powerful nation under Kim Jong Il's army-first revolutionary leadership and reconfirmed the fact that the independent policy of the DPRK government is greatly conducive to the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

It also welcomed the historic inter-Korean summit and the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration adopted there and highly estimated the efforts made by the DPRK for its implementation.

It expressed the belief that the Korean people in the north and the south and overseas would certainly achieve the independent reunification of Korea by their concerted efforts in line with the declaration.

The King of Cambodia reiterated his full support to the policies for national reunification laid down by the workers' party and the government of Korea.

8. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the results of Kim Yong Nam's visit to Cambodia and manifested belief that his visit would make a great contribution to strengthening and developing the traditional friendly and co-operative relations between the two governments and peoples.

9. Kim Yong Nam invited King Norodom Sihanouk and the queen to pay state visit to the DPRK at a convenient time.

Norodom Sihanouk sincerely thanked him for the invitation and accepted it with pleasure.

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