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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 April 03, 2020

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

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N. Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles into East Sea: JCS

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea on Sunday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the latest in a series of projectile launches even as the country is on high alert against the coronavirus.

Both were fired northeastward from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan at 6:10 a.m. and flew around 230 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 30 km, the JCS said, adding that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing other specifics.

"In a situation where the entire world is experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, this kind of military act by North Korea is very inappropriate and we call for an immediate halt," JCS said.

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N.K. propaganda outlet gives first response to online sex crime case in S. Korea

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Sunday gave its first reaction to a high-profile online sex crime case in South Korea, condemning the South as a society where corruption is rampant.

Referring to the "Nth room case," Meari reported that South Korea has been shocked by an online sex abuse case involving minors.

At least 74 people, including 16 underage girls, are known to have been exploited in the Nth room case, in which the arrested prime suspect, Cho Ju-bin, allegedly lured victims into taking photos and later coerced them into performing more gruesome sex acts.

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N. Korea says it tested 'super-large' multiple rocket launchers

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has tested "super-large" multiple rocket launchers, state media reported Monday, a day after South Korea's military said the communist state fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles.

Seoul's military said Sunday that the missiles were fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, flying 230 kilometers with a maximum altitude of 30 km. The launches marked the latest in a series of weapons tests or artillery firing drills the North has conducted this year.

Sunday's test was designed "to verify once again the tactical and technological specifications of the launch system to be delivered to units of the Korean People's Army," the Korean Central News Agency said. "The test-fire was conducted successfully."

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N.K. colleges offer online programs amid extended vacation caused by virus fears

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- Colleges in North Korea are providing online programs for students amid an extended vacation, as the country is making all efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, state media showed Monday.

North Korea has not officially confirmed any coronavirus infections, but it has reportedly extended the winter vacation for all schools as a precaution.

"Classrooms nationwide have been suspended and vacation periods extended as part of efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus that has been sweeping around the globe," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said in an article.

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N.K. paper warns against alcohol-related misconduct amid anti-coronavirus efforts

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper on Monday warned its people against alcohol-related misconduct, days after an official was dismissed for duty negligence amid the country's efforts to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, made the appeal in an editorial, saying, "We must fight strongly against the infiltration of immoral and uncivilized lifestyles into our country."

It also warned against "indecent acts" by those under the influence of alcohol and those with uncivilized manners in public spaces, such as theaters.

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N. Korea slams Pompeo over remarks on increased pressure

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday for seeking continued international pressure against the regime while calling for the resumption of dialogue.

In a statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North Korean foreign ministry's "new department director general for negotiations with the U.S." also threatened Pyongyang will take its "own way" amid stalled talks over its nuclear program.

The official accused Pompeo of encouraging other nations to stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure against North Korea during a press conference last week after a video conference among foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies.

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N. Korea's main paper says violation of coronavirus guidelines will be punished

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called Tuesday for absolute obedience to state anti-coronavirus guidelines without any exception, warning that punishment will follow if the rules are violated.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, carried the message in an article contributed by Ri Kyong-chol, an associate professor at Kim Il-sung University, amid concern that people may let their guard down as the coronavirus situation prolongs.

"The national emergency system refers to the new regulation and order placed so that preventive measures against infectious disease can be carried out successfully at a time when it threatens the survival and socioeconomic lives of the people as well as the safety of the country," the paper said.

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N.K. media says furlough of S. Korean USFK workers result of submissive pro-U.S. policy

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda media outlet said Wednesday that the furlough of South Koreans employees of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is a result of Seoul's "submissive" pro-U.S. policy.

The propaganda website Ryomyong slammed the situation of thousands of South Koreans put on unpaid leave due to a deadlock in defense cost-sharing negotiations between the United States and South Korea.

Ryomyong claimed that South Korea acted submissively in negotiations, saying that it gave up its heart to the U.S.

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N. Korea eases coronavirus restriction on foreigners

SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has eased coronavirus restrictions on foreigners, allowing them to go to shops and restaurants, according to the Russian mission in Pyongyang on Thursday.

The North Korean foreign ministry's protocol department issued the notice to all embassies and international organization offices, saying that foreigners are allowed to visit all shops, restaurants and customer services, including the central market in Tongin Street, the Russian Embassy said in a Facebook post.

The department urged all foreigners to continue to follow anti-virus regulations of each institution and wear medical masks until the state emergency system against the COVID-19 virus has been lifted.

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500 North Koreans remain under coronavirus quarantine: state media

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- Around 500 people remain under coronavirus quarantine across North Korea, state media reported Friday, a sharp drop from some 2,280 people a week earlier as the communist nation keeps lifting the quarantine for people with no symptoms during the isolation period.

North Korea has insisted it has no confirmed COVID-19 infections but has taken various anti-virus measures, including shutting down its border and putting thousands of people in isolation. The regime has said that preventing the virus is a "political task" that determines the country's fate.

Last week, the official Korean Central News Agency said those subject to "medical monitoring" have been released from quarantine one after another as they have no symptoms following the isolation period and about 2,280 people across the country remain under the monitoring quarantine.
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