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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 17:25 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Railcars seen at Yongbyon, inbound shipment of radioactive material unlikely: U.S. think tank

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- Recent satellite imagery shows the presence of specialized railcars at North Korea's main nuclear complex, a U.S. think tank said, downplaying any association with the inbound shipment of radioactive material.

In an article published earlier this week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said there were three specialized railcars at the Yongbyon nuclear facility in satellite imagery it obtained Monday.

Those railcars have previously been associated with the movement of radioactive material and were last spotted by the think tank in November, it said.

U.S. flies surveillance aircraft over Korean Peninsula to monitor N. Korea

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- The United States again flew a surveillance aircraft over South Korea on Thursday, an aviation tracker said, on an apparent mission to monitor North Korea.

The U.S. Air Force's RC-135W Rivet Joint was spotted in the skies above South Korea at 31,000 feet, Aircraft Spots tweeted.

This type of aircraft was detected four times here last month. The latest flight came just a couple of days after the Air Force's E-8C, or JSTARS, flew over the Korean Peninsula, according to the tracker.

Bolton makes no apology for hardline stance on N. Korea: report

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has stood by his hardline stance on North Korea, saying softer positions have failed to make the regime give up its nuclear weapons program.

In an interview this week with The Vanderbilt Hustler, the official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University, Bolton also defended his suggestions that North Korea follow the "Libya model" and hand over its nuclear program before receiving any concessions in return.

"I think that you've seen, unfortunately, over four American administrations, the failure to stop North Korea in making progress in getting deliverable nuclear weapons. That's a terrible record for our country," the former adviser said.

IFRC requests sanctions waiver for plan to help N. Korea's fight against coronavirus

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- The International Red Cross has asked the United Nations to grant temporary sanctions exemptions for its efforts to help North Korea's fight against the new coronavirus, a U.S. broadcaster said Friday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) made the request, Richard Blewitt, the organization's permanent observer at the U.N., was quoted as saying to Radio Free Asia.

He said that a sanctions waiver is necessary to help Pyongyang's ongoing preventive efforts against COVID-19 and provide items, such as protective suits, goggles, test kits and thermometers, to the country.

China, Russia supply combined 53,000 tons of refined oil to N. Korea last year

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- China and Russia supplied around 53,000 tons of refined oil to North Korea last year despite tough sanctions restricting trade with Pyongyang, a United Nations report showed Friday.

According to the report disclosed by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on its website, China and Russia shipped 22,730 tons and 30,180 tons of refined oil, respectively, to the North last year.

Their combined 53,000 tons, or 418,000 barrels, represented about 83 percent of the UNSC-imposed maximum annual ceiling of 500,000 barrels.

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