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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

16:00 June 14, 2019

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

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N. Korean, Russian officials discuss cooperation to enhance economic, trade relations

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- Senior North Korean and Russian officials met on Friday to discuss bilateral economic cooperation and trade relations, Pyongyang's official news agency reported.

North Korea's Minister for External Economic Affairs Kim Yong-jae met his Russian counterpart, Alexander Kozlov, who was visiting Pyongyang, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"The talks discussed matters of further revitalizing the work of the DPRK-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Cooperation in Trade, Economy, Science and Technology, and putting the equally beneficial economic and trade relations between the two countries on a higher stage," the KCNA said.

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Senior N.K. official in Beijing on way to int'l forum in Africa

BEIJING, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Ri Ryong-nam, North Korea's vice premier of the cabinet, arrived in Beijing on Saturday to make a stopover on his way to an international forum in Nigeria, informed sources said.

He was seen at a VIP room in Beijing Capital International Airport at around 10:10 a.m., greeted by North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong and some officials from the Communist Party of China, the sources said.

Accompanied by the officials, Ri left the airport and headed to downtown Beijing. The airport had apparently tightened security around the premises around the time of his arrival.

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Arbitrary executions, extrajudicial killings continue in N. Korea: report

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has continued arbitrary executions and extrajudicial killings under the Kim Jong-un regime for infractions, such as watching South Korean TV dramas and movies, a Seoul-based rights group said in a report Tuesday.

The Transitional Justice Working Group said in the report, titled "Mapping the Fate of the Dead: Killings and Burials in North Korea," that almost all "state-sanctioned killings reported were public executions by firing squad."

"Brief 'trials' almost always occur on the spot immediately before a public execution, where charges are stated and a sentence given without legal counsel for the accused," it said. Their charges could include watching South Korean media.

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N. Korea's May missile tests appear aimed at advancing solid fuel and guidance systems: CRS report

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's missile tests in May appear to be aimed at advancing solid fuel and guidance systems for its short-range ballistic missiles, according to a U.S. congressional report.

On May 4, North Korea test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon, along with a barrage of projectiles, and launched two short-range missiles five days later. The North claimed they are part of its ordinary military drills to "inspect the ability of rapid reaction" of its defense units.

"Tests of the KN-23 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) in May 2019 appear to be aimed at advancing solid fuel and guidance systems," the Congressional Research Service said in the report.

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Bolton says 3rd U.S.-N.K. summit is entirely possible

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Yonhap) -- A third summit between the United States and North Korea is "entirely possible," U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said Tuesday.

Bolton made the remark at a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal, saying that the decision is up to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"I think it's entirely possible," he said of the possibility of a third summit. "Really, Kim Jong-un holds the key."

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Trump says he received letter from N.K. leader

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has received a "beautiful" and "very warm" letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump told reporters at the White House that he received the letter on Monday, the first known correspondence of its kind since the two men's summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.

"I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un," Trump said. "It was a very personal, very warm, very nice letter. I appreciate it."

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U.S. says is ready to continue working-level talks with N. Korea

WASHINGTON, June 12 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it is ready to continue working-level denuclearization talks with North Korea as the countries mark one year since their historic first summit in Singapore.

At a press briefing, department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said U.S. policy over the past year has centered on transforming bilateral relations.

"We're looking, of course, to build a lasting peace. We're looking for complete denuclearization," she said. "The president, as obvious by his statement yesterday, maintains a warm relationship with Chairman Kim. Here at the State Department we are ready and willing to continue engagement on working-level negotiations with the North Koreans."
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