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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 February 07, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

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Young male N. Korean refugee arrives in U.S. in Jan.: data

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean male likely in his teens arrived in the United States as a refugee last month, U.S. government data showed Tuesday.

He is the only North Korean refugee tallied for this year by the State Department's bureau of population, refugees and migration.

He is aged between 14-20, lives in Richmond, Virginia, and likely arrived in the country on Jan. 23, according to data available with the bureau's Refugee Processing Center.

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Trump skips N. Korea in State of the Union speech

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump made no mention of North Korea in his third State of the Union address Tuesday, amid the stalled denuclearization talks with the communist nation.

It was the first time Trump ignored North Korea in his annual speech. That suggests a realignment of priorities amid an ongoing impeachment trial and reelection campaign.

In his first State of the Union address in 2018, the president talked about the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and vowed to break from the mistakes of past administrations to ensure that threat never reached the U.S. homeland.

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U.S. flies two surveillance aircraft on apparent mission to monitor N. Korea

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- Two U.S. surveillance aircraft flew over South Korea on Wednesday, an aviation tracker said, spurring speculation that the U.S. may be strengthening its watch over North Korea after detecting unusual activity.

The U.S. Navy's EP-3E was spotted in the skies over South Korea at 25,000 feet, Aircraft Spots tweeted.

An E-8C aircraft, or JSTARS, of the U.S. Air Force also flew over the Korean Peninsula at 31,000 feet, it added.

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Trump's commitment to N.K. talks unaffected by domestic politics: O'Brien

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will remain committed to denuclearization talks with North Korea regardless of U.S. domestic politics, his national security adviser was quoted as saying Wednesday.

In a meeting with foreign ambassadors and reporters in Washington, Robert O'Brien also urged Pyongyang to return to the stalled talks, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made a commitment to denuclearization, according to the Voice of America.

"There's an utter disregard on his part for U.S. domestic politics when it comes to doing what's right for the American people," the U.S. national security adviser said, referring to the president. "He'll be doing what's right for the American people, whether it's popular, unpopular, risky, not risky, right up until the day of the election."

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US spy plane flies near inter-Korean border areas for SIGINT operations

SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- A surveillance aircraft operated by the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) flew over South Korea's eastern border areas Thursday, apparently to monitor North Korea, an aviation tracker said.

The RC-12X Guardrail departed the military's Osan Air Base and flew over Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces for signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations, according to SR Airband & Aviation.

It is the first time this year that this type of USFK aircraft has flown with its identification system turned on.

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Presidential secretary visits U.S. amid impasse in nuclear talks

SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- A presidential secretary recently visited the United States to discuss ways to resume the stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang, sources said Thursday.

Choi Jong-kun, Cheong Wa Dae secretary for peace planning, visited the U.S. between last weekend and early this week to meet with U.S. officials, according to sources at the ruling party and the government. The presidential office did not make his trip public.

The visit came amid a prolonged deadlock in the nuclear negotiations after the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un collapsed without a deal in Hanoi in February last year.

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Esper: 'Rogue states' like Iran, N. Korea demand constant vigilance

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday that "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea demand the United States' constant vigilance.

Esper made the comment as he discussed the Trump administration's National Defense Strategy, which was released in January 2018.

He said the strategy is designed to help the U.S. maintain a competitive advantage over adversaries such as China and Russia.
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