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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 November 01, 2019

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea warns U.S. against ignoring year-end deadline on Trump-Kim friendship

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Sunday it would be a mistake for the United States to ignore a year-end deadline on nuclear negotiations by exploiting the close personal relations between the leaders of the two countries.

The North also warned that relations between the countries can "fall into a state of belligerency" if there is no substantial progress.

"The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it is of the idea of passing off in peace the end of this year, by exploiting the close personal relations between its president and the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK for the delaying tactics," Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the Workers' Party Central Committee, said in a statement moved by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

N. Korea ranks 193rd out of 195 countries in ability to cope with epidemic

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea ranks 193rd out of 195 countries in terms of ability to prevent, detect and respond to an epidemic, a recent global health security index showed.

The impoverished North scored 17.5 points in the index compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, coming higher than only two countries -- Equatorial Guinea and Somalia.

The global average was 40.2 points.

N. Korea's No. 2 urges U.S. to drop hostile policy to move nuclear talks forward

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's No. 2 leader urged the United States to drop its hostile policy toward Pyongyang before seeking denuclearization talks, saying the current situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula is at a "critical crossroads," Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday.

In a speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit held in Azerbaijan, Choe Ryong-hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, also criticized South Korea for relying on outsiders in cross-border issues and urged it to take the lead in improving inter-Korean relations, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"Now the situation on the Korean peninsula is at a critical crossroads of either moving towards durable peace along with the trend of detente or facing again a touch-and-go crisis," Choe was quoted as saying.

N. Korea's inflation rate remains stable since 2015: report

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has maintained a stable rate of inflation since 2015 thanks to the reclusive regime's deliberate monetary policy measures, a report showed Tuesday.

Chung Yeon-wook, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities, said North Korea's inflation rate skyrocketed to 229 percent in 2011 and turned negative in 2014 but has remained near 5 percent since 2015.

"The North Korean regime's policy measures contributed to the results," Chung wrote in the report published by the state-run Korea Development Institute's North Korean economy review. North Korea "seems to have either stopped issuing (its own) currency or quietly taken corresponding measures."

N. Korea's No. 2 leader meets with Malaysian PM, discusses normalizing relations

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's No. 2 leader has met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and discussed ways to normalize relations between the two countries following the assassination in Kuala Lumpur of the North Korean leader's half brother.

The meeting between Choe Ryong-hae, president of the North's Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Mahathir took place in Azerbaijan on the sidelines of a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), according to a Sunday posting on the Malaysian leader's official Twitter account.

The two sides discussed "the issue of normalization of bilateral relations and the reopening of the Malaysian Embassy in Pyongyang," the Malay-language posting said without providing further details.

N. Korea's top girl band to go on concert tour in China: sources

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's best-known girl band is expected to go on a one-month concert tour in China later this year, sources said Thursday, in a sign of strengthening relations between Pyongyang and Beijing.

The Moranbong Band plans to start the tour in Beijing in December at the invitation of a Chinese international culture exchange center, which will be followed by concerts in other major Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Changsha, according to the sources.

It will be the first time that the band, led by Hyun Song-wol, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has held a concert in China since 2015, when it called off a planned performance at the last minute after China took issue with its performance featuring the North's nuclear and missile development.

N. Korea fires two short-range projectiles toward East Sea: JCS

SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired two short-range projectiles from a western region toward the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, amid a lack of progress in denuclearization talks with the United States and chilled inter-Korean ties.

The projectiles were fired at 4:35 p.m. and 4:38 p.m. from areas in the city of Sunchon, South Pyongan Province, toward the East Sea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Both flew around 370 kilometers across the peninsula, reaching a maximum altitude of around 90 km, the JCS said, adding that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing their exact type.

N. Korea says it successfully tested super-large multiple rocket launcher

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official news agency said Friday that the country successfully tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher the previous day, adding that it verified the "perfection" of the weapons system.

On Thursday, South Korea's military said that the North fired two short-range projectiles from its western region toward the East Sea, adding that both flew about 370 kilometers.

"The Academy of Defense Science of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea succeeded in another test-fire of super-large multiple rocket launchers on Thursday afternoon," the Korean Central News Agency said.

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