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REFORM-WARY N. KOREA IS PROMOTING SOCIALISM

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North Korea launched a campaign Friday to promote socialism, warning that it could be destroyed by political reform and a multiparty system.

Radio Press, a private Japanese news agency that monitors Communist news reports, said the campaign suggests that North Korea is watching the recent reforms in East Europe with "a strong sense of crisis.""If political pluralism and the multiparty system were allowed in socialist society, they would bring grave consequences. Anti-socialist forces may come to the fore and destroy the political unity of the popular masses and fundamentally demolish the socialist system," ruling Communist officials of North Korea said.

Official Radio Pyongyang broadcast news of the campaign in a 50-minute report from the Communists' Workers Party organ, Rodong Sin-mun. The Korean Central News Agency carried a full text of the Ro-dong Sinmun article as well as eight other related stories.

North Korean media have remained silent on the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe, and the reports Friday did not mention them.

However, an article carried by the Korean Central News Agency's English service said socialism "is facing a grave challenge."

The article asserted that the socialist system was bound to win out. "Socialism tomorrow which withstood challenge of the imperialists today is sure to be crowned with the honor of final victory," it said.

North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, has been making a timid attempt to emulate the policies of openness and economic reform undertaken by China and the Soviet Union.

However, the hard-line state remains firmly under the grip of President Kim Il Sung, who has been ruling it since 1945. Neither he nor his heir-designate son, Kim Jong Il, has shown signs of a desire for major reform.