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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 January 31, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Int'l organization to provide US$42 mln to fight tuberculosis, malaria in N.K.

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- An international organization will provide US$41.74 million to support humanitarian programs combating tuberculosis and malaria in North Korea for the next three years, a charity group said Tuesday.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria signed an agreement with North Korea to provide the money for programs to fight the diseases for a three-year period until September 2022, according to the Eugene Bell Foundation.

Under the agreement, the foundation will receive $12.49 million as the sole provider of assistance for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the impoverished country, while UNICEF and WHO will be responsible for providing support for the North's malaria and drug-susceptible tuberculosis, it said.

S. Korea's top nuke envoy to visit Europe for talks on Korea peace efforts

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, will travel to Belgium and Germany this week for talks with senior officials there over ongoing efforts for a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Lee's trip to Europe comes amid Seoul's efforts to create fresh momentum for the resumption of the stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

During his stay in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, Lee will visit the EU headquarters to meet members of the EU Political and Security Committee and hold talks with Helga Schmid, the secretary general of the European External Action Service.

U.S. defense official expresses support for peace declaration with N. Korea

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. defense official on Tuesday voiced support for a peace declaration between the United States and North Korea, saying such an agreement would be beneficial to Washington if it can be negotiated.

John Rood, under secretary of defense for policy, was commenting on the possibility the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump could offer a peace declaration as part of a denuclearization deal with the North.

In particular, he was asked by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) of the House Armed Services Committee if the U.S. could first agree to a peace declaration before negotiating the details of North Korea's denuclearization.

N.K. missile site shows no signs of preparations for rocket or engine test: 38 North

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's satellite launching site shows no signs of preparations for a rocket launch or engine test, a U.S. monitor said Wednesday.

Commercial satellite imagery on Dec. 23 of the Sohae satellite launching station, also known as the Dongchang-ri site, showed efforts to clear snow off roads, including the one leading from the vertical engine test stand to the VIP observation facility, 38 North said on its website.

The test stand itself remained snow-covered, it said. Entrance ways, parking lots and courtyards were also cleared, with snow-clearing patterns suggesting that nearby buildings were being staffed.

Biegun, Philippine foreign secretary discuss N.K. denuclearization

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun met with the top diplomat of the Philippines on Thursday and discussed the importance of achieving North Korea's denuclearization, the State Department said.

Biegun and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. held talks in Washington and reaffirmed the value of the two countries' alliance, the department said in a readout.

"They also discussed the importance of that partnership to face current global health challenges, achieve a fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all countries prosper side by side as sovereign, independent states," it said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

U.S. ready to respond to any 'late Christmas gift' from N. Korea: Pentagon official

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- The United States is ready to respond to any "late Christmas gift" from North Korea, a Pentagon official said Thursday, referring to the possibility of a North Korean provocation, such as a long-range missile test.

North Korea warned last year that it could send a "Christmas gift" to the U.S. in protest of stalled denuclearization negotiations between the countries, adding to concerns that the regime could resume its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The year passed without such a provocation, but Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, suggested that tensions remain.

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