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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 May 15, 2020

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Pompeo says 'bad things happen' when info is denied in countries like N. Korea

WASHINGTON, May 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has singled out North Korea and China as countries where "bad things happen" as a result of denying information to their people.

In an interview with the Christian radio program "Focus on the Family," Pompeo lamented that some leaders choose to use propaganda and disinformation to gain power and social status.

He said that in the United States, the media holds the government accountable, although tech companies such as Google have sometimes not been "evenhanded" in the way they block information and content.

U.S. assumes N.K. leader is 'alive and well': nat'l security adviser

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Yonhap) -- The United States assumes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "alive and well" based on photos released by the country's state media, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Tuesday,

Speaking to reporters at the White House, O'Brien refused to say whether the photos have been verified for authenticity.

"He seems to be out cutting ribbons on a fertilizer factory, so, you know, our thinking is that he's probably doing well," he said, referring to the images of Kim at a ceremony on May 1.

Reduced S. Korea-U.S. military drills impact readiness:ex-USFK commander

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Yonhap) -- Scaling down combined military exercises between South Korea and the United States does have an impact on readiness, a former commander of U.S. Forces Korea said Tuesday.

Ret. Gen. Walter Sharp was referring to the major allied exercises that have been reduced in scope to facilitate denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.

"I think that scaling down, and doing exercises in other ways, does have an effect on readiness," he said during a virtual seminar hosted by the Korea Economic Institute of America.

U.S. says N. Korea 'not cooperating fully' with counterterrorism efforts

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it has certified North Korea and four other countries as "not cooperating fully" with U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, banning the sale of defense items and services to these nations.

North Korea was first placed on the list in 1997 under the Arms Export Control Act, and has remained on it every year since then. The other four countries for 2019 are Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.

"In 2019, four Japanese individuals who participated in the 1970 hijacking of a Japan Airline flight continued to live in the DPRK," the department said in a press release, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

U.S. issues advisory to counter sanctions evasion by N.K., Iran, Syria

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Thursday issued a global advisory to counter shipping practices used by North Korea, Iran and Syria to evade sanctions.

The 35-page document -- published jointly by the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the U.S. Coast Guard -- provides individuals and businesses in the maritime industry and energy and metals sectors with information on how to counter illicit shipping and sanctions evasion.

"This advisory reflects the U.S. government's commitment to work with the private sector to prevent sanctions evasion, smuggling, criminal activity, facilitation of terrorist activities, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with a focus on Iran, North Korea, and Syria," it says.

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