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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 April 24, 2020

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea's denial calls into question Trump's claim about 'nice note' from Kim

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's claim that it has not sent any letter to U.S. President Donald Trump recently has raised questions about whether Trump misspoke, lied or if he was simply referring to a past letter when he said he received a "nice note" from Kim.

Trump talked about the purported note during a daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Saturday (Washington time), insisting that his relationship with Kim remained good and dismissing a series of short-range missile tests by the North as no big deal.

"I received a nice note from him recently. It was a nice note. I think we're doing fine," he said without elaborating on the contents of the message or mentioning the exact date.

N. Korea reveals foreign ministry's post handling external news and info

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has revealed the name of a foreign ministry post handling external news and information, raising speculation it might have been newly created as part of an organizational reshuffle in recent months, observers said Monday.

On Sunday, the North Korean foreign ministry's "room chief of news for foreign service of Department of Press and Information" issued a statement, disputing U.S. President Donald Trump's assertion that he has recently received a "nice note" from leader Kim Jong-un.

The unnamed official warned that the relations between the top leaders of the two countries "are not an issue to be taken up just for diversion nor should it be misused for meeting selfish purposes."

N.K. paper urges high-level alertness to prevent virus-caused devastation

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper Tuesday urged its people to stay on high alert against the coronavirus, warning that the devastation caused by the pandemic in other countries could take place anytime in the communist nation.

North Korea claims to be free from the coronavirus, but Pyongyang has ramped up calls for its people not to let their guard down in warding off the COVID-19 pandemic as it is bracing for a long fight against the infectious disease that has been sweeping around the world.

"It is impossible to see the danger of virus infection disappear in a short period of time at a time when no preventive and treatment medication has been developed," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, said.

No unusual signs about N.K. leader's health: government sources

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has seen no unusual signs suggesting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is ill, government officials said Tuesday, after CNN reported that Kim is "in grave danger after a surgery."

"There is nothing unusual going on in North Korea. It's not true," a government official told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity, referring to the CNN report that cited an unidentified "U.S. official with direct knowledge" of the matter.

Presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok also said that nothing unusual has been detected in the North.

N.K. paper calls for raise in tax revenue

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean newspaper on Tuesday called on the country to collect more tax revenue to deal with financial pressure amid crippling global sanctions.

The North's Cabinet newspaper, Minju Joson, urged for an increase in revenue collected from the people, stressing that it will be used to develop the economy and national defense, and to improve the livelihood of the people.

"(People) must fulfill their obligation to pay for the country's revenues and the revenues must be used efficiently according to regulation by carrying out tasks so that the national budget is executed thoroughly in every aspect and level," the paper said in an editorial.

N.K. media stay mum on leader's whereabouts amid rumors on his health

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korean media outlets have stayed mum on leader Kim Jong-un's whereabouts without putting out any reports on his public activity amid persisting speculation over his health.

Speculation about Kim's health problems spiked after CNN reported earlier this week, citing a U.S. official, that Washington is looking into intelligence that Kim is in "grave danger" after a surgery.

North Korea's state media have recently put out reports on Kim sending diplomatic letters and conveying gifts to honored citizens but stopped short of providing reports or photos featuring his public activity.

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