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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 January 03, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

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N. Korea holds key party meeting to discuss 'important policy issues'

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has held the first-day session of a previously announced meeting of the ruling Workers' Party to discuss "important policy issues for new victory in our revolution," state media said Sunday.

"Guided" by leader Kim Jong-un at the venue in Pyongyang on Saturday, the session was to discuss important matters in "the building of the state and national defence," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in English.

The plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee has been a key focus of attention, as Pyongyang has set the year-end deadline for Washington to offer concessions in stalled nuclear talks.

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N.K. party meeting discusses 'offensive measures' to ensure sovereignty, security

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has discussed "offensive measures" to ensure the country's sovereignty and security during the second-day session of a major party meeting, state media reported, amid concern Pyongyang could ditch negotiations with the United States and restart major weapons tests.

In Washington, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned the North against any provocations, saying the U.S. will be "extraordinarily disappointed" in such cases and will demonstrate its disappointment. He also said the U.S. has "a lot of tools in our toolkit" to respond to the North.

The plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party came as Pyongyang has threatened to take a "new way" if Washington fails to offer concessions in their nuclear talks before the end of this year, hinting that it would end diplomacy and return to provocative acts.

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N. Korea's official newspaper highlights Kim's military leadership

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper highlighted leader Kim Jong-un's leadership and achievements as "supreme commander" of the country's armed forces Monday, saying the country's dignity and happiness all depend on its powerful military force.

The emphasis on Kim's leadership came as North Korea is threatening to take a "new way" in denuclearization talks with the United States if Washington fails to come up with a new proposal before the end of this year, hinting that Pyongyang could end diplomacy and revert to provocative acts.

It also came as the North marked the eighth anniversary of Kim's appointment as "supreme commander" of the Korean People's Army on Dec. 30, 2011, weeks after his father, Kim Jong-il, died of a heart attack.

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N. Korea's No. 3 man absent from key party meeting

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- Former North Korean Premier Pak Pong-ju, considered No. 3 in Pyongyang's power hierarchy, was absent from a key Workers' Party meeting for the second day in a row, spurring speculation about what happened to him.

Pak, 80, a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee, was not shown in state media photos of the plenary meeting of the ruling party's Central Committee that has been under way since its opening Saturday.

When North Korea held the last party plenum in April, Pak was named a member of the politburo, along with leader Kim Jong-un and the North's No. 2 leader, Choe Ryong-hae.

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Kim calls for 'diplomatic, military countermeasures' ahead of end-of-year deadline

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for "diplomatic and military countermeasures" for preserving the country's sovereignty and security during an ongoing Workers' Party meeting, state media reported Tuesday, ahead of the impending expiry of Pyongyang's end-of-year deadline for U.S. concessions.

He made the calls at the third-day session of the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party on Monday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The meeting came as North Korea has threatened to take a "new way" in denuclearization talks if Washington fails to come up with an acceptable proposal before the end of this year, hinting it would otherwise end diplomacy and revert to provocative acts.

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Senior N. Korean official appears in state media after months of absence

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- A ranking North Korean official in charge of inter-Korean relations, who had been out of the public eye for months, appears to be retaining his position, a unification ministry official said Tuesday, after he was seen in state media images of a key party meeting.

Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, was seen taking notes in a broadcast of a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee that has been under way since Saturday.

It was Ri's first appearance in state media since his name last appeared in April when the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported his election as a member of the parliament's foreign affairs committee during a key assembly session.

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N.K. leader says no reason to keep moratorium on ICBM tests, warns of 'new strategic weapon'

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he sees no reason to stick to his commitment to suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and will soon show off a "new strategic weapon," accusing the United States of stalling for time for its own political interests, according to state media Wednesday.

Still, however, Kim appeared to have left room for negotiations as he also said during a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party that how much the North will bolster its "nuclear deterrent" will depend on the future U.S. attitude.

Kim said it was part of his efforts to build confidence with the U.S. that he suspended tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), but Washington responded with joint military exercises with South Korea and more sanctions on Pyongyang.

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N. Korea reshuffles ruling party leadership

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ruling party has carried out a major reshuffle of key positions during a recent plenary session, state media said Wednesday, as leader Kim Jong-un called for stepped-up self-reliance against what he said would be a protracted struggle against U.S.-led sanctions.

During the four-day plenary meeting of the Workers' Party Central Committee that wrapped up Tuesday, North Korea discussed an "organizational matter," including a reshuffle of members at its powerful politburo, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The report also said that 10 officials have been newly appointed as department directors of the central committee that has a total of about 15 departments. The report did not disclose information on who has been dismissed.

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N.K. leader visits mausoleum of grandfather, father to mark new year

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited the mausoleum of his late grandfather and father in his first reported public activity this year after he threatened to show off a "new strategic weapon."

Kim paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of state founder and grandfather Kim Il-sung and his father Kim Jong-il are enshrined, on the occasion of the start of the new year, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

His visit to the mausoleum came after he warned of a "shocking actual action" and threatened to show off a "new strategic weapon" in the near future during a rare four-day meeting of the ruling Workers' Party held until the last day of 2019.
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