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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 January 11, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Pompeo says 'confident' that Trump, Kim will meet again soon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he is "confident" that a second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will happen in the near future.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday evening, Pompeo maintained that he believes the two leaders will be able to make progress toward dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program when they meet to follow up on their historic first summit last June.

"Lots of work that is left to be done, but I am confident that in the next short period of time President Trump and Chairman Kim will get the chance to meet again and truly create a much better, safer America with less threat of not only nuclear weapons being launched at us but nuclear proliferation as well," said the top U.S. diplomat, who has led negotiations with Pyongyang.

High-profile defector urges 'missing' N.K. diplomat to come to Seoul

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- An ex-North Korean diplomat who defected to the South urged his former colleague, who has deserted the country's embassy in Italy in a possible defection, to come to Seoul on Saturday, following reports that the envoy is seeking asylum in the United States.

Jo Song-gil, the charge d'affaires of the North's embassy in Rome, has been unaccounted for since early November ahead of the planned end of his assignment in Italy later that month, according to South Korea's intelligence agency.

Italian media reported that Jo, who has gone missing with his wife, is under the protection of Italy's intelligence authorities and that he is seeking asylum in the U.S.

N.K. propaganda outlet demands Washington's corresponding measures amid preparations for 2nd summit

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet called on the United States on Monday to take "corresponding" steps for the "sincere measures" the North has taken toward denuclearization since their summit in June.

Meari, a propaganda website, made the request as the two countries are preparing for a second summit between their leaders after a protracted stalemate for months over their denuclearization talks.

"Our republic has granted an excessive amount of goodwill and generosity to the U.S.," Meari said on its website. "Now is the time for the U.S. to act with corresponding measures for the republic's sincere efforts."

N. Korea's official newspaper demands complete end to S. Korea-U.S. military drills

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper urged South Korea on Monday to stop joint military drills with the United States, saying it will help create a peaceful atmosphere and move forward inter-Korean relations.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North's ruling party, also called on Seoul to stop bringing any foreign strategic assets onto the Korean Peninsula, reiterating what leader Kim Jong-un demanded during his New Year's speech last week.

"Removing nuclear threats on the Korean Peninsula and fostering a peaceful mood is an essential requirement for inter-Korean relations to move forward," the newspaper said in a commentary.

U.N. envoy in S. Korea for March report on N. Korean human rights

Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea began a trip here Monday meant to collect information for his spring report on the communist nation's human rights situation.

Tomas Ojea Quintana met with South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho for closed-door discussions on the matter.

He arrived in Seoul earlier in the day for a five-day stay, his fifth trip to the city not far away from North Korea since taking up the post in March 2016.

Trump says talks under way over venue for summit with N. Korean leader

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said negotiations with North Korea are under way on where to hold a second summit.

"We are negotiating a location," he told reporters Sunday. "It will be announced probably in the not too distant future."

He was referring to a plan to meet again with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

N. Korea's state media confirm Kim's trip to China

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is on a trip to China for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, state media reported Tuesday, a development that could suggest a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump is forthcoming.

Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, left for China on Monday afternoon for a four-day visit at the invitation of the Chinese president, Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said. China's Xinhua News Agency also confirmed his visit.

The confirmation of Kim's trip to China came after South Korean media reports said earlier that a special train carrying a high-ranking North Korean official crossed into China on Monday night.

N.K. leader in Beijing for talks with Xi ahead of possible summit with Trump

SEOUL/BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, sources said, in an effort to coordinate strategies ahead of his possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

A special train carrying Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, arrived at a highly secure station in Beijing at around 10:55 a.m. Escorted by Chinese police, he and his entourage headed in prearranged limousines to Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Later in the day, Kim held his fourth summit with Xi for about one hour, during which they are said to have discussed a potential summit with Trump and ways to strengthen their ties, according to the sources.

S. Korea hails N. Korean leader's China visit

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea expressed hope Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's ongoing trip to China will be helpful to the denuclearization and peace process.

"The government expects that high-level exchanges between the North and China, including a meeting between Chairman Kim Jong-un and President Xi Jinping, will be able to contribute to the complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula," a foreign ministry official said, adding it's the government's formal response.

South Korea will continue efforts to foster the "virtuous cycle" of denuclearization and such diplomatic activities by the Koreas and regional powers, the official said.

U.S., N. Korea in back-channel talks over 2nd summit: ambassador

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- The United States and North Korea continue to have "back-channel" talks to arrange a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Seoul's top envoy in Washington said Tuesday.

Trump and Kim have both said they want to meet again to follow up on their historic first summit last June, which produced an agreement to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

This week Trump said the location will probably be announced "in the not-too-distant future."

N.K. leader visits industrial facilities in China

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited industrial facilities in Beijing on Wednesday, a day after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a show of close ties ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim visited a pharmaceutical factory located in the economic-technological development zone in the Chinese capital. Sources said that he spent around 20-30 minutes touring the plant operated by Tong Ren Tang, a drugmaking conglomerate known for its long history of more than 300 years.

After the tour, Kim returned to the state guesthouse. Kim left the guesthouse again around noon and arrived at the Beijing Hotel, where he is expected to have lunch together with Xi before heading back home later in the day.

Kim's train departs Beijing for N. Korea

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un headed back home Wednesday after wrapping up a trip to China during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks apparently aimed at discussing strategies ahead of a possible summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim's special train departed from the Beijing railway station at 2:08 p.m. local time with Kim and his entourage on board. He is expected to arrive in Pyongyang early Thursday morning.

Kim came to Beijing by train on Tuesday and held summit talks with Xi hours later. Details of their hourlong meeting were not disclosed. After the talks, Xi hosted a welcome reception for Kim. Tuesday was Kim's 35th birthday.

N.K. leader reaffirms denuclearization commitment, vows efforts for 2nd summit with Trump

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his denuclearization commitment and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, state media from both sides said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to China's Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

China's Xi accepts Kim's invitation to visit North Korea

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to make his first visit to North Korea since leader Kim Jong-un took power more than seven years ago, Pyongyang's official news agency reported Thursday.

Xi accepted "with pleasure" Kim's invitation to visit the country at a convenient time when they held summit talks in Beijing on Tuesday and informed Kim of his visit plans, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

Details of the plan were not immediately made public.

Moon voices need for 'bolder' denuclearization steps to end sanctions

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday stressed the need for North Korea to take more concrete and faster denuclearization steps while also highlighting the importance of corresponding measures by the international community to further accelerate the denuclearization process.

"I believe North Korea needs to take practical denuclearization steps more boldly if it wishes to resolve the issue of international sanctions because the issue of international sanctions depends on the speed of North Korea's denuclearization process," the president told a press conference held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

"I believe corresponding measures too must be considered to further promote North Korea's denuclearization process," Moon said.

N. Korea's nuclear complex well-maintained, shows little activity: 38 North

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main nuclear complex appears well-maintained but barely operational, a U.S. website said, citing last month's satellite imagery.

The facilities in Yongbyon are key to the North's development of nuclear weapons, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in September he could shut it down permanently if the U.S. took "corresponding measures."

But denuclearization negotiations have stalled since U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June.

FM does not rule out surprise announcement on 2nd U.S.-N.K. summit

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Friday that she does not rule out the possibility of a surprise announcement on a much-anticipated summit between the United States and North Korea.

Kang made the remarks amid hopes that the possible second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will create fresh momentum for diplomacy on Pyongyang's denuclearization and a lasting peace on the peninsula.

"Major U.S. figures have hinted recently that there has been communication between Pyongyang and Washington over the possible second U.S.-North Korea summit," Kang wrote in a pre-released script for a lecture hosted by the ruling Democratic Party's special panel on denuclearization.

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