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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 January 03, 2020

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

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U.S. says it has many 'tools' to deal with N.K. 'Christmas gift'

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned North Korea on Sunday that the United States has many "tools in its toolkit" to respond to any major provocation and will use them to demonstrate its disappointment.

O'Brien made the comments in an interview with ABC amid concerns North Korea could be preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile to express its frustration over stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.

North Korea's regime has set the end of the year as the deadline by which Washington must offer concessions in their talks and threatened to take a "new way" unless its demands for sanctions relief and security guarantees are met.

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Pompeo says U.S. hopes N. Korea chooses path of peace

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- The United States hopes North Korea will choose a path of peace, not confrontation, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, as the regime has threatened to take a "new way" over stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

Pompeo made the remark in an interview with Fox News amid expectations North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may announce a new U.S. policy in his upcoming New Year's Day address.

"We're watching very closely ... we maintain our view that we can find a path forward to convince the leadership in North Korea that their best course of action is to create a better opportunity for their people by getting rid of their nuclear weapons," Pompeo said.

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Pompeo says he hopes N. Korea chooses peace over war

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he hopes North Korea will choose peace over war after the regime threatened to reveal a "new strategic weapon."

Pompeo made the comment to Fox News shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered the threat amid stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

"It remains the case that we hope that Chairman Kim will take a different course," the top U.S. diplomat said when asked for his assessment of the warning. "We're hopeful that Chairman Kim will make the right decision, (that) he'll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war. I saw that reporting. I hope he doesn't go in that direction."

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Trump says N.K. leader is 'man of his word' on denuclearization

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he believes Kim Jong-un will uphold his commitment to denuclearize after the North Korean leader threatened to show off a "new strategic weapon."

Hours earlier, North Korean media reported that Kim saw no reason to continue his self-declared moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and warned that the world will soon see a "new strategic weapon."

His remarks came as North Korea has expressed frustration over stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S. and threatened to take a "new way" unless Washington offers concessions.

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S. Korean, U.S. nuclear envoys discuss N. Korea by phone

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon spoke by phone with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun on Wednesday after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned he would soon unveil "a new strategic weapon," an official said.

The two sides exchanged their assessments of Kim's remarks made during a four-day meeting of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, and discussed ways of cooperation to denuclearize and bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula, the official said.

Lee is working on a plan to visit Washington later this month for talks with Biegun.

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Bolton says U.S. should fully resume military exercises with S. Korea

WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that the United States should fully reinstate military exercises with South Korea to respond to North Korea's latest threats.

Earlier on New Year's Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he saw no reason to continue his self-declared moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and threatened to show a "new strategic weapon" in the near future.

Kim's remarks came as Pyongyang has grown increasingly frustrated with the impasse in denuclearization talks with Washington, which have so far failed to produce the sanctions relief and security guarantees sought by the regime.

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S. Korea, U.S. to adjust combined drills for diplomacy with N. Korea: defense ministry

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will continue to stage their combined exercises in an adjusted manner to support efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday.

The allies have either canceled or scaled back joint drills since 2018 to back diplomacy with North Korea.

"We've maintained our stance that combined exercises with the U.S. shall be adjusted in close coordination between the two sides in order to support diplomatic efforts for the denuclearization," ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing.

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U.S. defense secretary urges N.K. leader to exercise restraint

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to exercise "restraint" after the communist nation threatened to reveal a "new strategic weapon" in protest over stalled nuclear talks.

Kim made the remark in a New Year's Day message that expressed his frustration over stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S. Experts have said the "strategic weapon" Kim said the world will see in the near future could be an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"We would urge restraint by Kim Jong-un," Esper said in an interview with Fox News, noting that the best path forward is still a political agreement on denuclearizing North Korea.
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