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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

16:17 October 16, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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Cheong Wa Dae reviews NK leader's speech, says inter-Korean accords should be honored

SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday analyzed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's message in his speech during a military parade the day earlier and stressed that existing inter-Korean agreements should be honored to prevent the recurrence of an armed conflict on the peninsula.

The presidential office convened an emergency session of the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee to discuss the issue. Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, presided over the meeting that was joined by other top national security officials, including the foreign, defense and unification ministers.

They reviewed the content of Kim's address and "emphasized that various accords between the South and the North for the prevention of bilateral armed clashes and war should be kept at any cost," Cheong Wa Dae said in a press statement.

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Unification ministry voices hopes for improved inter-Korean relations following N.K. leader's speech

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea welcomes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's expression of hopes for improved inter-Korean relations, but the conditions are not right yet to propose specific cooperation projects with the North, the unification ministry said Monday.

On Saturday, Kim said he is sending a "warm wish of mine to our dear fellow countrymen in the South, and hope that this health crisis would come to an end as early as possible and the day would come when the North and South take each other's hand again."

Kim made the remark during a military parade marking the founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.

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U.N. Seoul human rights office meets brother of S. Korean official killed by N.K. soldiers

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul office of the U.N. human rights body held a meeting Monday with a brother of a South Korean fisheries official killed by North Korea after he called for a U.N. probe into the killing.

During the two-hour meeting, the human rights office said it will report the case to the U.N. General Assembly as early as next week, according to Lee Rae-jin, the elder brother of the late official.

Lee earlier said he received an interview request from the U.N. office, calling it the first official reaction from the international organization after he called for an investigation into the incident.

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S. Korea capable of intercepting N.K.'s new multiple rocket launchers: defense ministry

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military can "immediately respond to and incapacitate" North Korean artillery and missiles if they are used to attack the South, the defense ministry said Tuesday, after the North unveiled new weapons during a parade last week.

On Saturday, North Korea held a massive military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 75th founding anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party, unveiling a new intercontinental missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), along with recently developed multiple rocket launchers.

Asked to comment on South Korea's anti-artillery and missile defense capabilities against such short-range missiles, deputy ministry spokesperson Col. Moon Hong-sik said the military can intercept the missiles through its Patriot and the soon-to-be-deployed M-SAM II ground-to-air missile systems.

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U.N. rapporteur urges N.K. to punish those responsible for killing of S. Korean citizen at sea

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has urged Pyongyang to punish those responsible for the killing of a South Korean fisheries official, compensate the official's family and ensure no such incident happens again.

Tomas Ojea Quintana made the appeal, denouncing the killing as a "violation of international human rights law" in his latest report on the North's human rights situation. The document was released by the U.N. human rights office in Seoul, and Quintana plans to present it to the U.N. General Assembly next week.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea must ... hold those responsible to account, compensate the family of the official and ensure such events are not repeated," he said in the report, referring to North Korea by its official name.

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S. Korea to launch annual defense drill to deter N. Korea

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday it will kick off an annual military exercise next week amid persistent nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

The Hoguk exercise, set to run from Monday through Oct. 30 across the country, will involve the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and diverse programs will be staged, such as joint landing drills and those to defend northwestern islands in the Yellow Sea.

"As an annual drill, the Hoguk exercise is defensive in nature, and focuses on the maintenance of our military readiness posture and the improvement of joint operations capabilities," the JCS said in a statement.
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