North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Choe Thae Bok talks Cheonan, meets Iran delegation at IPU Conference in Geneva

Supreme People's Assembly Chairman, Choe Thae Bok, speaks at the Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Geneva on 20 July 2010 (Photo: 3rd World Conference of Parliament Speakers)

SPA Chairman Choe Thae Bok used his remarks at the Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament at the UN Geneva to fault the ROK for inciting tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the sinking of the Cheonan.  Choe, who is also the KWP International Secretary and an alternate member of the KWP Political Bureau (Politburo), “also claimed that the Cheonan had sunk during a U.S.-South Korea joint military drill.”

Chosun Ilbo reports:

A senior North Korean official condemned the South Korean government’s attempt to link Pyongyang to the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in March, saying the actions are provoking conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking at the annual World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Geneva, Choe Thae-bok, chairman of the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly, argued that as a result of Seoul’s efforts to blame the sinking on the North, war clouds hang heavy over the peninsula.

Choe also claimed that the Cheonan had sunk during a U.S.-South Korea joint military drill. Pyongyang will not tolerate the U.S. and South Korea’s attempt to threaten the North’s existence and sovereignty, he added.

During the conference, Choe met with Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament.   Larijani said the two countries “share common goals.”  Choe also invited Laranjani to visit the DPRK.  Iran’s state news agency reports:

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says Iran and North Korea are both revolutionary and independent nations trying to resist the world’s “greedy” powers.

Meeting with his North Korean counterpart on the sidelines of an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Larijani hailed staunch bilateral ties between the two nations and thanked the North for its contributions to Iran under late Korean leader Kim Il-sung, ISNA reported.

For his part, North Korean speaker Choe Thae Bok highlighted his country’s full support for the Islamic Republic and the common goal of fighting US imperialism.

The Korean official condemned US “accusations” concerning Iran’s nuclear program and denounced its move to send Tehran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council as aimed at “troubling” the Islamic Republic.

KCNA reported on Choe Thae Bok’s interactions at the conference on 22 July:

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, said that General Secretary Kim Jong Il’s visit to China in May contributed to boosting Sino-Korean friendship, pointing out that the two countries grandly celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and held events marking the “year of China-DPRK friendship” in 2009, demonstrating the bilateral friendship.

He hoped that the party and government of the DPRK would achieve bigger successes under the leadership of Kim Jong Il.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, said that the relations between Cuba and the DPRK provided by Fidel Castro Ruz and President Kim Il Sung are growing stronger under the deep care of Raul Castro Ruz and Kim Jong Il.

The Cuban party and government will express invariable support and solidarity with the party and government of the DPRK, he declared.

Mahmoud Al-Abrashi, president of the People’s Assembly of Syria, said that they are thankful to the Korean people for extending support and solidarity to the Syrian people’s cause of justice, hoping that the two parliaments would closely cooperate with each other in the common struggle against the U.S. in the future, too, in keeping with the friendly relations between the two countries developing on good terms.

Demberel Damdin, chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia, expressed the willingness to enhance the parliamentary role in boosting the bilateral relations.

Meira Kumar, speaker of the Lok Sabha of India, said that India and the DPRK have contributed to the strengthening of the Non-Aligned Movement, declaring the willingness to exert efforts to develop the relations between the two parliaments.

KCNA reported on Choe’s speech to the conference on 23 July:

Under the uplifted banner of independence, peace and friendship the DPRK will as ever develop the friendly and cooperative relations with all countries which respect the sovereignty of the DPRK and are friendly towards it, irrespective of differences in ideology and ism and system.

We will vigorously accelerate the building of an economic power in reliance on the solid foundation of the independent national economy and positively develop the economic cooperation with other countries on the principle of equality and reciprocity.

The Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK will make positive contributions to establishing a just and democratic international society fully representing the will of the absolute majority of the people in the world and thus fulfill its mission and duty as a full-fledged member of the IPU.

An affiliate of 38 North