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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 April 17, 2020

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

White House: U.S. supports N.K. people amid coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States supports the people of North Korea and other countries vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House National Security Council said Monday, underscoring Washington's commitment to providing humanitarian aid.

The NSC statement was posted on its Twitter account together with a link to a press release issued by the Treasury Department last week.

The Treasury said Thursday that it continues to allow U.S. sanctions exemptions for the delivery of humanitarian aid to countries affected by COVID-19, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria.

U.S. calls on N. Korea to avoid provocations following missile launch

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States calls on North Korea to avoid provocations and return to denuclearization negotiations, the State Department said Tuesday, after North Korea launched a barrage of missiles into the sea.

Earlier Tuesday, North Korea fired what appeared to be cruise missiles and air-to-ground missiles in the latest in a series of weapons tests, according to South Korea's military.

"We are aware of media reports and are currently assessing the situation," a department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

U.S. lawmakers introduce bill to expedite humanitarian aid to N. Korea

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) -- Two U.S. lawmakers have announced the introduction of a bill calling for streamlined procedures to expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid to North Korea.

The bill, named the Enhancing North Korea Humanitarian Assistance Act, was announced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) on Monday.

"I firmly believe that multilateral pressure is necessary to support our diplomacy with North Korea in order to keep the American people safe from the murderous Kim regime," Markey, ranking member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement posted on his website.

N. Korea's missile launch not 'particularly provocative or threatening': U.S. JCS chief

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's missile tests overnight were not "particularly provocative or threatening" to the United States, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.

Gen. Mark Milley said he was speaking after a preliminary assessment of the tests with the South Korean military and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams.

"It's mixed right now in terms of the assessment," he told reporters at the Pentagon. "I don't think it's particularly provocative or threatening to us as to what happened."

U.S. flies spy planes following N. Korea's missile launches

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- A series of U.S. surveillance aircraft have flown near and over the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker said Wednesday, following North Korea's launch of what appeared to be cruise missiles off its east coast.

The U.S. Air Force's RC-135U Combat Sent was spotted en route to waters between South Korea and Japan, Aircraft Spots tweeted, without giving details on the time of its operation.

On Tuesday, the Air Force's E-8C and the Navy's EP-3E were also seen operating over South Korea after the North fired surface-to-ship cruise missiles near its eastern coastal town of Munchon.

U.S. gov't agencies issue joint advisory on N.K. cyber threat

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Four U.S. government agencies on Wednesday issued a joint advisory highlighting the cyber threat posed by North Korea, along with mitigation measures.

The 12-page document from the U.S. Departments of State, the Treasury and Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines the means used by North Korea to steal, launder and extort funds.

"The DPRK's malicious cyber activities threaten the United States and the broader international community and, in particular, pose a significant threat to the integrity and stability of the international financial system," the advisory says, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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