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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

16:18 October 16, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

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'Top-down' nuke diplomacy with N.K. may not continue if Biden wins Nov. election: Ambassador Lee

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- The "top-down" nuclear diplomacy that U.S. President Donald Trump has employed toward North Korea may not be retained if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the November election, Seoul's top envoy in Washington has said.

During a video-linked parliamentary audit Sunday (Washington time), Ambassador Lee Soo-hyuck made the remarks in response to a lawmaker's question about the possibility of a change in the U.S. approach to the North following the Nov. 3 presidential vote.

"Those who would take charge of diplomatic and security affairs (should Biden win the election) are those who held high-level positions under the past Obama administration," the ambassador said.

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Trump says Kim one of 'sharp' leaders even after N.K. unveils massive new missile

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday picked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as one of the world's "sharp" leaders, even after the North unveiled a massive new missile believed to be capable of striking any part of the United States.

"Look. We can't play games. The one thing I know for sure, President Xi of China ... President Putin of Russia. You look at around Kim Jong-un ... They are 100 percent sharp. We have somebody running who is not 100 percent," Trump said during a campaign rally in Florida, referring to his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump has often grouped the three together as the "top chess players" or those at the top of their games.

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U.S. will continue discussing with allies ways to deter China's missile capabilities: U.S. envoy

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States will continue to consult closely with its Asian allies, including South Korea, on ways to deter China's medium-range missile capabilities, a special U.S. envoy for arms control said Tuesday.

The remarks from Marshall Billingslea, presidential envoy for arms control, came about two weeks after he traveled to South Korea and Japan for such discussions.

"We had very good meetings in both Seoul and Tokyo," he said in a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.

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U.S. military chief vows to provide 'extended deterrence' to S. Korea

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to South Korea's security, including providing "extended deterrence," during annual talks between the military chiefs of the two countries, both sides said Wednesday.

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman (JCS) Gen. Mark Milley made the remark Tuesday during the 45th Military Committee Meeting (MCM) via videoconference with his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Won In-choul, days after North Korea unveiled a massive new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and other weapons.

"Gen. Milley reiterated the United States' firm commitments to the Republic of Korea and to providing extended deterrence," a joint statement said.

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Esper says equitable burden-sharing necessary for 'stable stationing' of U.S. troops

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday highlighted the importance of what he called a more "equitable" sharing of costs to maintain U.S. troops in South Korea, saying it would ensure the "stable stationing" of U.S. troops in the Asian ally.

His remarks came in an annual meeting of defense ministers of the two countries, known as the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM).

"We must find a more equitable means of sharing the costs of our common defense, so it doesn't fall unequally on the American taxpayers," the U.S. defense chief said in his opening remarks.

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Pompeo says U.S. diplomacy toward N. Korea 'successful'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that his country's efforts to reduce threats from North Korea have proven successful, noting the communist state conducted "zero" missile tests over the past two years.

The top U.S. diplomat insisted the U.S. would not be where it is now without its diplomatic efforts toward the communist state.

"Am I confident that our diplomacy has proven successful? Yes, absolutely," he told a press briefing.

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S. Korea's national security adviser in U.S. on unannounced visit

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national security advisor Suh Hoon has been in Washington on a previously unannounced trip and has already met with his U.S. counterpart Robert O'Brien, multiple sources confirmed Wednesday.

Suh arrived in Washington on Tuesday, an informed source said on condition of anonymity without providing further details, including what the purpose of his trip was.

O'Brien later confirmed Suh's visit, saying in a tweet that they met earlier in the day.

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Top S. Korean, U.S. security officials discuss alliance, N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- Top national security officials of South Korea and the United States held talks in Washington, D.C. this week and reaffirmed that their alliance remains robust, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

Suh Hoon, director of national security at the presidential office, arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday (local time) for his first trip to the U.S. since assuming the post in July.

He met with his White House counterpart Robert O'Brien the following day for discussions on issues of mutual concern, including recent Korean Peninsula security situations and bilateral relations, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

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Korea-U.S. alliance 'vital' to peace and stability in Asia: NSC

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. National Security Council (NSC) reemphasized the importance of the U.S.-South Korea alliance Thursday, saying the partnership remains vital to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and its region.

The renewed focus on the 70-year-old alliance follows controversial remarks from the Asian ally's top diplomat here that 70 years of the alliance does not mandate his country to make the same choice for the next seven decades.

"Alongside our Korean Allies, 36,000 Americans gave their lives to defeat the expansion of communism on the Peninsula. Our relationship, forged in war and reinforced by friendship and a shared love of liberty, is vital to peace and stability in both Asia & the world," it said in a twitter message with a hashtag "We go together," written in Korean.

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U.S., S. Korea hold same views on declaration of war's end: S. Korean adviser

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- There exists no difference of opinion between South Korea and the United States on the need to formally end the Korean War as part of the process to denuclearize North Korea, South Korea's national security adviser said, adding it is "common sense" that the two issues go together.

Suh Hoon, director of South Korea's National Security Office, said the only issue was when a declaration of the war's end could or should be made.

"The issue of declaring the war's end is not a new issue. It has always been on the negotiating table and there can be no different views regarding the issue between South Korea and the U.S.," Suh told reporters after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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